Forgent Sues Over JPEG Patent

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alan Browne, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    "Forgent Networks said Friday it sued 31 major hardware and software
    vendors, including Dell and Apple Computers, for allegedly infringing on
    its claim to an algorithm used in the popular JPEG picture file format.

    If the suits are successful, they could lead to an increase in prices
    for tools and software used to create and modify images -- or even lead
    the industry to abandon the JPEG format altogether. "
    --Wired News, 02:00 AM Apr. 24, 2004 PT,1367,63200,00.html?tw=wn_bizhead_1

    Of course they wait until the patent is nearly run out before they sue
    retroactively. Bunch of wipes.
    Alan Browne, Apr 24, 2004
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  2. Its ok, theres allways Gif and the LZW alogrithm. Last I looked the Patent was about to expire in 2001

    Martin Riddle, Apr 24, 2004
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  3. Alan Browne

    Paul Cassel Guest

    LZW expired in 2003. Problem is that if these bastards win, they can sue for
    past use of the 'patent' which will force companies to recoup the lost money
    somehow - from us.

    Paul Cassel, Apr 24, 2004

  4. You are misinformed, Alan.

    Forgent has been actively negotiating with the parties for many
    years. You will notice that Sony, Microsoft and Pentax are not listed
    as defendants. Guess why? They settled and paid up. Sony got quite
    a bit of flak for settling in a rather public matter.

    So nobody "waited" for anything. It's been an orderly ongoing
    process over many years.

    What's more, Forgent has excellent chances of prevailing. My guess
    is that most if not all defendants will end up settling and paying.
    Frank Ehrlich, Apr 25, 2004
  5. The US patent office is decadent and depraved. Lawsuit companies are
    infesting the USA. There's even one in my town. You may have heard of
    them: Intergraph. At one time they were something to take civic pride
    in. Now they are famous only for their lawsuits. FSCK them all.

    Unclaimed Mysteries, Apr 25, 2004
  6. Alan Browne

    BillyBob Guest

    You are misinformed, Alan.
    Actually I politely disagree - currently 50% of patents are overturned on
    re-examination/trial. Also the patent Forgent is claiming is specious to say
    the least - the technology was part of an industry group to define a
    standard and should not have been allowed as a patent in the first place.

    In addition:

    - Forgent did not "invent" anything - they bought the "rights" from another
    - They have NOT been negotiating for many years it has been less than 2
    years - closer to 1.
    - Their claims are not "unique" in the patent as required by patent law.
    - Unless some company with a backbone stands up to them they will continue
    to "extort" money.
    - Forgent could be described as the "SCO" of digital imaging.....

    BillyBob, Apr 25, 2004
  7. But they did. If they've been negotiating for years and several of
    the *big* companies settled, I would have expected legal action
    against the rest far sooner than this. Far before the patent was
    ready to, or has already expired.
    By waiting this long they have hurt their chances greatly.
    That doesn't mean they won't prevail, but what will they do about the
    end users already using jpgs? The things have almost become generic
    although that is not the right word.

    The best they can hope for is a sympathetic court system and the "deep
    pockets" syndrome. They'd not get it from me now although they would
    have at first. They could have sought injunctions to prevent those
    companies from using JPGs although had they done so we'd all probably
    be using a different form of compression.

    Were I the big corporations, I'd take the risk, join forces and fight
    it as long as possible. (drag it out)

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger Halstead, Apr 25, 2004
  8. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    No, I'm not. See link.
    If "negotiations" on an intellectual rights issue lasts more than a year
    or so, you sue, you don't keep negotiating and wonder where the cows are.
    The patent is nearly expired. Any negotiations should have been
    completed, or litigation initiated years ago.
    Whatever. That is not important. What may be important is increased
    costs from vendors with the algorithm in their product; or a hiatus in
    offering the algorithm. So users risk being hit with sudden price

    Alan Browne, Apr 25, 2004
  9. Alan Browne

    Deathwalker Guest

    I cant believe microsoft paid up without a fight. Its just not their way.
    Deathwalker, Apr 25, 2004
  10. More like a couple of years. It definitely falls into the category of
    "submarine" patent, if you ask me.
    The JPEG group believe otherwise.
    By the time the litigation is over, the patent will have expired.

    Mike Brodbelt, Apr 26, 2004
  11. Alan Browne

    DM Guest

    Guess it's time to start looking at royalty-free alternatives. You never
    know who/when/what/where/how these guys will sue and for how much. In
    the end, it is the customers (us) who get hit and have to shell out more
    money. Sad. Maybe they should start taking a serious look at PNG or even
    come up with a different royalty-free image format.
    DM, Apr 26, 2004
  12. Alan Browne

    Bill Funk Guest

    In any case, the end user won't be charged to make a JPEG; the
    softweare or hardware that contains the software to make the JPEGs
    will cost more.
    I don't see this as a problem; we use JPEG out of convenience, not
    necessity. There are other free compression utilities already out
    there, so it will just be a slight change to another utility. Devices
    such as cameras that already use JPEG won't be affected at all.
    Bill Funk, Apr 26, 2004
  13. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    ....that's called charging the end user... if you buy any application
    that has their algorithm in it, providing they prevail, then you will
    pay for it.... even if they win post expiration of the patent and win
    True, but the ubiquitous use of JPG makes it a favourite among the less
    knowledgeable users.

    Alan Browne, Apr 26, 2004
  14. Alan Browne

    stan Guest

    Just because someone sues does not mean they win. I suspect Forgent is way
    too late in trying to enforce its rights with regard to the jpeg standard.
    stan, Apr 26, 2004
  15. Alan Browne

    Paul J Gans Guest

    PNG was developed for just this reason. It has been long
    known that JPEGs were produced by a copywrited code.

    While PNGs are not universally supported, nor are all
    facits of them implemented, one might hope that this
    situation would soon improve.

    ----- Paul J. Gans
    Paul J Gans, Apr 27, 2004
  16. Alan Browne

    Bill Funk Guest

    I suppose, sort of, especially since the end user always pays for
    I'm thinking of the difference between paying for a license (which the
    end user wouldn't do in this case) and paying on a per-use basis
    (which the end user would be doing).
    Well, so was PKZIP.
    I'm using this as an example of how well the user base can adapt.
    Bill Funk, Apr 27, 2004
  17. Alan Browne

    Don Stauffer Guest

    I don't understand what this suit is about. As I remember the creation
    of the JPEG standard, it was a joint project under the sanction of an
    industry trade group, like IEEE and SAE standards. That stuff isn't
    patentable. How can someone patent the jpeg format itself? Or is this
    a patent on some form of implementation, rather than the standard
    Don Stauffer, Apr 28, 2004
  18. Alan Browne

    pioe[rmv] Guest

    A very serious aspect of this is that Free Software developers may be
    prevented from creating free alternatives. Free software means
    copyable software without copy control, Product Activation and other
    severe limitations on the use of the software. In a worst-case
    scenario, the patent system ensures that only the businesses who are
    able to pay for the patent licenses can afford to create new software.
    The result? It may be difficult to get software without these

    That should make us thinking.

    Also, wavelet-based compressed file formats are hardly a possibility,
    since almost every conceivable wavelet procedure is patented. My
    friend Gisle from Norway recently posted this on a Norwegian mailing
    list so it came to my attention:

    The problem is, the intellectual property lobbyists, WIPO, the
    proprietary software businesses and others, have convinced people that
    patenting and "intellectual property" is preferable to the sharing of
    information to the benefit of all. Alas, it is not so. This system
    potentially excludes everone who does not want to or cannot afford to
    pay license fees. The JPEG patent controversy, like the former GIF
    one, are very good examples showing us the detrimental effects of
    patents on software or algorithms used in software.
    Yes, and this madness will go on until people start to rethink the
    prudence in the present patent system as applied to "intellectual
    property." The concept of "intellectual property" has long ago become
    a straitjacket, and it is time that people realize that. In
    particular, patents on software are not promoting development, but
    /hindering/ it.

    So it is not merely about "a bunch of wipes," but a whole system in
    acute need of revising. Even if it means the death of some businesses
    whose income is based on extracting exorbitant license fees from
    others. It is the entire system of "intellectual property" which is at

    Per Inge Oestmoen, Norway
    pioe[rmv], Apr 28, 2004
  19. The Discrete Cosine Transform is patented until this Oct.

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
    Paul Repacholi, Apr 28, 2004
  20. It is not uncommon for patented technology to be standardized. For example,
    for ISO standards, the only requirement is that the parties proposing
    technology for standardization disclose any patent issues of which they are
    aware. It is then up to the standards committee to decide whether they want
    to accept the patent restrictions or seek an alternative technology for
    standardization. In the audio-coding field, competing companies will spend
    millions of dollars developing patented technologies, in the hope that their
    entry will be the one accepted for standardization and they can collect
    Andrew Koenig, Apr 28, 2004
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