H264 Royalties Just Became a Lot More Uncertain

In his Essential Patent Blog, intellectual property attorney David Long recently reported that a jury trial in Federal District Court in Texas found that Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei infringed upon an H.264-related patent owned by PanOptis, a non-practicing entity (NPE). The jury also found that the H264 award wasn’t limited by FRAND requirements typically applied to patents essential to a standard (FRAND stands for Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory), and awarded PanOptis $7.7 million for a single H.264-related patent. According to Long, this lawsuit may have implications for all users of H.264 encode and decode capabilities, including those distributing H.264-encoded content, and particularly for those shipping Android devices.

Long was kind enough to answer several questions for an article up on Streaming Media Magazine, which also contains my analysis of the impact of this decision (hint: it doesn’t help the adoption of HEVC or future standards-based codecs). 

About Jan Ozer

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I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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