Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

From Slashdot:

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday July 18, @01:06PM
from the where-have-I-heard-this-before. dept.
Michael Long writes "Forgent Networks ( has announced that it owns the software patent on JPEG compression technology, and has stated that it is "in contact" with computer, software, camera, and other digital imaging product manufacturers regarding licensing terms. This ambush of the digitial imaging industry will probably stand as the worst public relations nightmare a company can inflict upon itself."

Thanks for sending this Sen. This is pretty intense. I wonder if this is the product of some vulture capitals, was planned from the beginning, some lawyers having fun, or something someone found when sifting through the assets of some acquisition. In any event, this should shake up the industry. Glad I don't manufacture digital cameras.

1 Comment

The Register

No more JPEGs - ISO to withdraw image standard
By Andrew Orlowski in London
Posted: 23/07/2002 at 16:39 GMT

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.

The Register has spoken to representatives of both the JPEG committee and Forgent Networks this week.

According to Richard Clark, JPEG committee member and webmaster, Forgent's royalty grab - coming after two decades of royalty-free use - means that ISO is obliged to withdraw the specification.

"Under ISO terms, formally you can only have a standard you can implement on free or RAND terms. "Reasonable and non discriminatory (RAND) terms are typically published, and the same for everyone. It's clear that Forgent's claims are not RAND. $15 million doesn't sound like free to me, and Forgent is not publishing the terms of their licensing.

"ISO will withdraw the standard: JPEG will be no more," he told us. However, ISO itself cannot formally take a stance on the patent, he added.