First, Google opened up its VP8 video codec. Then, Google removed built-in support for the MPEG-LA patent encumbered H.264 video codec from its Chrome Web-browser in favor of VP8. After that it was only a matter of time before the MPEG-LA patent consortium came gunning for Google VP8.
As a MPEG-LA representative told ZDNet’s Ed Bott, “Yes, as we have said in the past, we believe VP8 uses many patents owned by different parties. To the extent VP8 includes technology owned by others, then a pool license which removes uncertainties regarding patent rights and royalties by making that technology widely available on the same terms to everyone would be beneficial to the market.”
In a statement, Google said that “MPEG-LA has alluded to a VP8 pool since WebM launched–this is nothing new. The Web succeeds with open, community-developed innovation, and the WebM Project brings the same principles to web video.”
So what’s really going on here? I asked Andrew “Andy” Updegrove a founding partner of Gesmer Updegrove, a top technology law firm, and a leading expert on patent law for his take on the situation and this is what he told me.