Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Group Finds Prior Art On JPEG Patent; Hopefully Not Compressed As A JPEG

from the all-your-jpgs-are-belong-to-us dept

A few years ago, a small company, Forgent, that owned a patent they never did anything with, suddenly decided that the patent covered the technology used in jpg compression, used across the internet for images. Instead of recognizing that the actual innovation came about having absolutely nothing to do with that patent, the company did what so many patent trolls do: they decided to sue everyone and complain about how much they were owed for doing nothing that had anything to do with the success of a technology. Companies have been fighting Forgent, but now a group claims they've come up with some prior art that could invalidate the patent. Of course, the process is quite involved and difficult, so it's a bit early to say if this will have any impact. The best guess is that it won't and the patent office will turn them down on a review. Either way, though, it doesn't get to the core issue, of why this company that did absolutely nothing to make .jpg a useful compression format (and, didn't even realize they had such a patent for a long time) deserves any money for doing absolutely nothing other than making it difficult for others to actually use the technology.

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  • identicon
    dude, 16 Nov 2005 @ 10:39am

    Get a real job !

    What can be said about PubPat's Executive Director Dan Ravicher ? Get a real job, man, and stop
    bitching about US patent system !
    He appeared to find *another* Forgent patent as an *invalidating prior art* ! How interesting!
    It takes about 3 minutes spent on www.uspto.gov to find all Forgent patents.
    Why did it take them so long ? The patent in question will expire next year.
    Is this just a silly joke or this guy is a glory hog ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2005 @ 10:51am

      Re: Get a real job !

      and do you have anything useful to add or are you just a troll.. these are the questions that plague our universe

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dude, 16 Nov 2005 @ 11:05am

        Re: Get a real job !

        Yeah, I am just a troll, if it makes you happy...
        For starters, I can suggest to go to www.uspto.gov/patft , "quick search" and
        type "Compression Labs, Inc." in the assignee field.
        All 12 Forgent patents come up immediately.
        Patents 4,698,672 (in question) and 4,541,012 (submited as "prior art") are listed next to each
        other...
        To me this whole re-examination thing looks ridiculous.
        After 100 million $ or so Forgent managed to obtain
        from Sony and other large companies over the
        course of several years ?
        And nobody at those companies even looked at other
        Forgent patents ?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael "TheZorch" Haney, 16 Nov 2005 @ 11:08am

    New Solution Needed

    We may need a new solution for image file formats.

    A good one should be built using Open Source Code. Files sizes would have to be small for photo-quality images, and the file format should be able to support animation like .gif files do now. An all in one file format to please everyone and its free for anyone to impliment.

    I'm no programmer, I'm trying to give the code-master here something to think about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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