Related link: http://www.theregus.com/content/4/25711.html
The GIF patent discussion is hardly new, but it still seems tricky. Even though Microsoft obtained a license under the
"http://www.unisys.com/about__unisys/lzw/">Unisys LZW patents in 1996, that license doesn’t extent to developers using their toolkits. Recipients, users and distributors of hardware or software
products containing LZW conversion capability are cautioned by Unisys.
So now comes JPEG. Forgent Networks recently issued this following statement as part of a "http://ir.forgent.com/ireye/ir_site.zhtml?ticker=FORG&script=410&layout=-6&item_id=314044">larger news release:
“Forgent has the sole and exclusive right to use and license all the claims under the ‘672 patent that implement JPEG in all “fields of use” except in the satellite broadcast business.
Forgent’s “fields of use” for licensing opportunities include digital cameras, digital still image devices, personal digital assistants (PDA’s), cellular telephones that download images, browsers,
digital camcorders with a still image function, scanners and other devices used to compress, store, manipulate, print or transmit digital images.”
To make things even more exciting, The Register has a terrific article and interview:
“The ISO standards body will take the unprecedented step of withdrawing the JPEG image format as a formal standard if Forgent Networks, a small Texan company, continues to demand
royalties on a seventeen-year old patent.”
My guess is that this patent will be challenged, and I’ve seen a few people comment that they’re ready for Forgent to come after them. I’m not particularly
wise in this area, but I do like to avoid hassle every now and then. Even if these formats aren’t interchangeable, I may be considering a move to PNG when possible.