[Coco] JPEG, GIF, and patents...
6809er at etechwds.com
Wed Apr 28 09:23:24 EDT 2004
At 07:29 PM 4/27/2004 -0400, you wrote:
> I was wondering if I could save myself a short patent search if someone
>happened to have the patent number for the "best" JPEG and GIF patents. I
>understand that gif is Lempel-Ziv compression, but don't know anything
>about JPEG. I'm not too bad with patents either...
> - Aaron
As for the LZW patent . . .
The Unisys LZW patent expired in the United States on June 20, 2003. The
Canadian LZW patent will expire on July 7, 2004. Corresponding patents in
the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy will expire on June 18, 2004.
The Japanese LZW patent will expire June 20, 2004. If you live in a country
where Unisys' LZW patent is no longer valid, none of the following applies
to you, except perhaps as a warning about what happens when politicians who
can't successfully program a VCR are permitted to make laws governing
technology. These expiry dates were supplied by Unisys' web page.
You are in the clear after July 7 of this year.
As for JPEG, Forgent Networks, an Austin, Tex.-based video networking firm,
has laid claim to one of the fundamental technologies underlying the World
Wide Web. Even more significantly, the firm has already convinced two
firms, including Sony Corp., to pay millions of dollars in royalties.
What the patents cover
The patent in question is No. 4,698,672, titled "Coding system for reducing
redundancy", approved in 1987 and assigned to Compression Labs Inc., a
Forgent subsidiary. The patent specifically references patent No.
4,302,775, "Digital video compression system and methods utilizing scene
adaptive coding with rate buffer feedback", also assigned to Compression
Labs but in 1981. Neither patent specifically contains the acronym "JPEG",
although it stands for "Joint Photographic Experts Group", the organization
which standardized JPEG through the International Standards Organization in
Most of the talk about these patents are from about two years ago and they
run out 2006 or so.
PNG is patent free, so far.
By the way, all information was easily found by just doing a search on "GIF
Patent" or "JPEG Patent" using Yahoo or Google search engines.
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