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Article

Google Seeks Patent Protection for WebM & VP8

There is now such a thing as the WebM Community Cross-License (CCL) Initiative

There is now such a thing as the WebM Community Cross-License (CCL) Initiative, which is out collecting patents presumably to protect the royalty-free open source file format and its VP8 video codec created by Google against any infringement claims made by the MPEG Licensing Association.

MPEG LA, which is forming a patent pool - and being investigated by the Justice Department for it - has maintained that "VP8 is not patent-free."

The newborn CCL effort has so far got 17 founding members that have "agreed to license patents they may have that are essential to WebM technologies to other members of the CCL" for free.

They are identified as AMD, Cisco, Google, HiSilicon Technologies (for itself and its parent Huawei), LG, Logitech, Matroska, Mips, Mozilla, Opera, Pantech, Quanta, Samsung, STMicroelectronics and its 50-50 joint venture ST-Ericsson, TI, Verisilicon Holdings and the Xiph.org Foundation.

However, patent watcher Florian Mueller says the 17, some of which aren't even major patent holders, are "unlikely to collectively own all the patents essential to WebM/VP8," and that the effort "fails to address the number one issue WebM's critics point to: the risk of infringement assertions by entities that don't have any strategic interest in VP8."

He couldn't help but notice that Google buddy and Android licensee Motorola Mobility's subsidiary General Instrument Corporation, which does own codec patents, isn't part of the initiative, at least not yet.

See www.webm-ccl.org.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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