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AT&T: Apple infringing on MPEG-4 patents

updated 09:25 am EST, Fri February 10, 2006

AT&T targets Apple

AT&T says that Apple and others are infringing on its MPEG video compression patents. PC Magazine reports that "AT&T possesses several patents related to video compression, which the company says are an essential component of the MPEG-4 video technology. In a bid to drive its global licensing program, AT&T has targeted Apple Computer, Inc., CyberLink Corp., DivX, Inc., InterVideo, Inc., and Sonic Solutions as unlicensed companies whose products and software utilize the MPEG-4 technology." The report also says that AT&T has contacted national retailers that distribute products the potentially infringing products, to let them know that they may be held liable for infringement. AT&T says that it can provide proof of the infringements, which could result in potential damages including lost profits, royalties and - assuming willful action - treble damages and attorneys' fees, according to the report. "Last year, AT&T announced that Pentax and Nero are among the latest licensees of its MPEG-4 patent package, allowing the two licensed companies to move ahead unencumbered by patent restrictions."




by MacNN Staff

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  1. l008com

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    oh

    now i understand why so many people are against software patents. its like taxes that private companies can impose on others. laaaame

  1. IonCable

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yawn

    All these Patent lawsuits are getting very boring. Talk about stiffing inovation and technological advancements. I'm surprised any company brings out a new product, it seems someone somewhere has some patent that they claim applies to it.

    PS. I have applied for a patent on this response based on electronic delivery of a message in response to a post message done using 2 finger typing method while standing on one leg in a snow storm, I will sue.

  1. addisonx

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Back in 2001:

    "Apple is a co-founder of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA), which is dedicated to the development of products and technologies that adhere to industry standards. QuickTime was chosen by the International Organization for Standards (ISO) as the file format for MPEG-4, providing the software with a deep level of compatibility with the standard." Wasn't this all sorted out a long time ago? Maybe AT&T should be paying Apple?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: yawn

    All these Patent lawsuits are getting very boring. Talk about stiffing inovation and technological advancements. I'm surprised any company brings out a new product, it seems someone somewhere has some patent that they claim applies to it.

    That's right. Its the patents that's stifling innovation. Or, perhaps, its the whole idea of a patent that enables innovation. Because, without it, why bother spending money on technology if someone else can come on in, take your work, and sell it cheap to make money off of it? The whole point of patents is to allow those who've spent the money innovating to be able to recoup their expenses for a period of time.

    If AT&T was being sued by Apple for using parts of Quicktime without paying royaties, you'd all be over them like a dog on a leg, saying their stealing apple's work and all.

    Oh, and just because Apple's QT format is a file format, doesn't mean its used for anything else, like compression, conversion, etc.

  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Rambus all over again?

    I can't help but relate this to the whole Rambus mess, where Rambus participated in a consortium to define memory standards, all the while willfully witholding the fact that much of the technology it was contributing was patented and, consequently, not licensing said technology. Then, once the standards were ratified, Rambus started suing.

  1. bosco08

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Whatever the case...

    Not sure how valid the AT&T complaint is, but I think what is happening is people/companies are patenting every freakin' idea they have, regardless of how much innovation it took, then lawyers find anything they can to say "this infringes" to make an easy buck for them and the company. With the number of appeals made, there is no doubt a very high number of invalid charges of infringment. It is ridiculous. Every week there is someone saying so-and-so is infringing. At some point, we suffer. Fewer companies using the newest technologies,.... fewer cool/helpful products.

  1. Mark Edwards

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    They bring this up now?

    MPEG4 has only been a part of Quicktime for, oh, four years or something. Why does AT&T wait until now to complain? Did they just acquire these patents or something? Or are they just coming up with this now because of the video iPods?

    Patents are fine as far as they encourage innovation. Its when companies use them like fishing bait, hogging patents and then sitting and waiting for their chance to sue, that patents SUCK.

  1. automorrow

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    ATT .....

    Another t******* Tick

  1. jhorvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    I think Apple was license

    I think Apple was licensed a long time ago since they helped develop the technology. AT&T can stick there threats up where the sun don't shine. Just another company trying to feed off of one that has seen success. I've never heard AT&T use MP4 for anything.

  1. fritzw1957

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    AT&T using MP4

    AT&T *does* use MP4, as does Verizon, SBE, BellSouth - just about any telco that provides -- drum roll please -- DISTANCE LEARNING via video streaming.

    These are very much in use: H.261, H.263 and now H.264 as primary codecs for the boxes that control distance learning rooms all around the country. There are other older codecs still in use also, although these are falling by the wayside as the newer ones provide better compression and faster transmission.

    How do I know this? Where I work we have 2 Distance Learning rooms provided with equipment by Verizon and using twin T-1 lines provided by Adelphia and I'm one of the trainers for those who use the room. They don't need to know all the 'tech' stuff just how to operate the pad that controls the room and the equipment.

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