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MPEG — Working Group 11 of  ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 — has issued a resolution seeking active participation in developing a Type-1 (royalty-free) video coding standard.

“Given that there is a desire for using royalty free video coding technologies for some applications such as video distribution over the Internet, MPEG wishes to enquire of National Bodies about their willingness to commit to active participation (as defined by Section 6.2.1.4 of the JTC1 directives) in developing a Type-1 video coding standard.”

See below for publicly-released information from recent MPEG meetings on royalty-free standardization.

Organizations and experts interested in actively participating in a type-1 (royalty-free) standardization activity should contact their SC29/MPEG National Body or liaison.

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Glossary:

SC: Subcommittee.  SC 29 is the ISO/IEC Subcommittee covering coding of Audio, Picture, Multimedia and Hypermedia Information (MPEG and JPEG).

WG: Working Group.  A subsidiary body of an SC, that undertakes work planned with the SC.

NB: National Body.  The members of a Subcommittee, one member per country.

P-Member: A participating, voting NB (as opposed to O-Member, a non-voting observer).  There are 25 P-Members of SC 29 (voting country members).

WD: Working Draft.  Preparatory-stage draft of specification.

CD: Committee Draft.  Committee-stage draft of specification.

RAND: Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory.  General term for patents licensed for royalties, rather than available for use on a royalty-free basis.

NP: New Work Item Proposal.

MPEG: Moving Pictures Experts Group.  WG 11 of SC 29, with charter for coding of moving pictures and audio.

Type 1:  Option 1 on the 2007 ITU/ISO/IEC Common Patent Policy Patent Statement and Licensing Form, stating “The Patent Holder is prepared to grant a free of charge license to an unrestricted  number of applicants on a worldwide, non-discriminatory basis and under other reasonable terms and conditions to make, use, and sell implementations of the above document.”

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Resolutions, the 92nd SC 29/WG 11 Meeting, 2010-04-19/23, Dresden, Germany

SC 29/WG 11 N 11241

http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/sc29/open/29view/29n11185c.htm

Type-1 License Video Coding Standard

Given that there is a desire for using royalty free video coding technologies for some applications such as video distribution over the Internet, MPEG wishes to enquire of National Bodies about their willingness to commit to active participation (as defined by Section 6.2.1.4 of the JTC1 directives) in developing a Type-1 video coding standard. MPEG would appreciate if NBs provide the names of individual organisations that will commit resources. MPEG will use the information gathered from the NB responses, particularly including the number of countries willing to actively participate, in order to decide at the Geneva meeting whether to request approval of a new Work Item Proposal. MPEG does not intend to reopen the issue, unless strong support of at least five national bodies is presented in the future.

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ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives, 5th Edition, Version 3.0

ISO/IEC JTC 1 N8557

http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/sc29/directives.pdf

6.2.1 New Work Item Proposals (NP)

6.2.1.3 … In order to be approved, the proposal shall be supported by a majority of all P-members of JTC 1 with at least five P-members of the SC to which the project will be assigned committed to active participation. …

6.2.1.4  Active participation for NPs includes involvement by NBs in more than one of the following:

• Attendance at meetings (see also 7.11);
• Contributing to the development of the WD;
• Performing substantial review on a CD and subsequent stages;
• Submitting detailed comment with ballots.

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Meeting Report, the 91st SC 29/WG 11 Meeting, 2010-01-18/22, Kyoto, Japan

SC 29/WG 11 N 11077

http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/sc29/open/29view/29n11151c.htm

Royalty-free Codecs

In order to help with the discussion on royalty-free codecs, several National Bodies provided input as requested in N11066 Call for Comments on Possible Future activities on “Royalty-free” Standardization by MPEG. MPEG thanks with N11222 Responses to NB position statements on N1066. No clear conclusions could be drawn from the diverse responses. Furthermore, neither MPEG nor ISO can guarantee that a standard developed with the goal of being RAND or royalty-free will actually be RAND or royalty-free since the analysis of patents is outside of the scope and competence of ISO and MPEG.

MPEG issued document N11221 Possible future actions on standardization with Type 1 licensing where the legal issues are summarized and discussed. Type 1 licensing refers to option 1 of the joint patent declaration form, where an intellectual property holder can indicate that he will not charge for his IP. Laymen refer to this type of licensing as royalty-free.

However, MPEG believes that 20 years after its publication some technology will become royalty-free. Since parts of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 were published in 2013 and 2014, candidates are a MPEG-2 Part 2 baseline profile carved out of MPEG-2 Part 2, MPEG-1 Part 3 Layer 2 baseline profile carved out of the MPEG-1 part 3 Layer 2, a MPEG-1 Part 3 Layer 3 baseline profile carved out of the MPEG-1 part 3 Layer 3, and a MPEG-2 Part 1 baseline profile carved out of the MPEG-2 part 1. These candidates would be compatible with existing equipment. Alternatively, MPEG may define a new set of standards which are believed to be RF provided such standards provide sufficient differentiation to be successful in the market place.

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Meeting Report, the 90th SC 29/WG 11 Meeting, 2009-10-26/30, Xian, China

SC 29/WG 11 N 10876

http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/sc29/open/29view/29n10944c.htm

Royalty-free Codecs

The Chinese National Body encouraged MPEG to discuss the option of royalty-free codecs developed within MPEG (N11065 Responses to CNNB position statement on more friendly IPR policy). Especially small companies perceive licensing as cumbersome. Some royalty free standards have become successful in the market place.

MPEG might consider royalty-free codecs only as a supplement to its current standards development process. The preliminary results of the discussion are summarized in N11067 Summary of Issues and question from the 90th MPEG Meeting in connection with CNNB input document (M16903). In order to help with this discussion, MPEG requests National Bodies to provide input according to N11066 Call for Comments on Possible Future activities on “Royalty-free” Standardization by MPEG.

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6 Responses to “MPEG Issues Resolution on Type-1 (Royalty-Free) Standardization”

  1. Mitch Skinner

    The kyoto report says that “parts of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 were published in 2013 and 2014″ but that’s not right, is it? Maybe it’s supposed to say that patents on parts of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 are expiring in those years?

  2. Petter

    How about patents filed in other countries at a later date?

    US patents might run out by then, but what about the rest of the world?

  3. Rob Glidden

    Petter:

    There is now a lot of harmonization because the foundation of WTO normalized patents at 20 years from filing, and filing time frames have been long harmonized by the Paris Convention.

    Rob

  4. Rob Glidden

    Mitch:

    Yes, that looks like a typo in the original MPEG report, I think the intent was to estimate that the specs (or some relevant drafts) were published in 1993 and 1994.

    Rob

  5. Petter

    Sure I know that but that’s not what I was wondering, but I mean normally it’s the filing time of each application of the same patent application that counts, you can file something in Sweden in 2000 and the same thing in US 2003 for example. Or wise versa. Patents aren’t only sought and applied for in one country.

  6. Rob Glidden

    Petter:

    For a summary of grace periods and novelty requirements in multi-country patent filings you may want to look at “Patent Novelty Requirements of the World and Strategic Foreign Patent Procurement Practices” at http://zilkakotab.com/PDFs/publication1.pdf. Note that US changed during the mid 1990s (due to WTO), and this impacted the video codec patent domain since patenting and standardization was underway during that period.

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