MPEG Royalty Dispute Threatens 3G Interoperability

You would think that, after so many years of this exact problem showing up in different standards-making processes that someone would have come up with a good way to deal with it. However, like so many standards, MPEG-4 is getting bogged down over intellectual property issues. Lots of companies, including Sun and Apple have patent claims on technologies used in MPEG-4 video compression, and as they debate how to get paid, the squabbling has made some Japanese groups talk about giving up on MPEG-4 as a video standard for mobile phones. They’re afraid it’s just going to be too costly to pay all the tolls they’re going to be expected to pay. The problem, then, is that (once again) we’ll have different standards in different parts of the world.

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