31 Companies, Including Apple, Sued over JPG

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by 4409723, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. 4409723 Suspended


    Jun 22, 2001
    "Forgent Networks said Friday it sued 31 major hardware and software vendors, including Dell and Apple Computers, for allegedly infringing on its claim to an algorithm used in the popular JPEG picture file format.

    If the suits are successful, they could lead to an increase in prices for tools and software used to create and modify images -- or even lead the industry to abandon the JPEG format altogether."

    Kinda scary, although there is a similar situation with GIF as Unisys owned a patent on the LZW compression, but their patent recently ran out, and they agreed that license did not always involve money.
  2. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    somehow i dont think they will win...but thats me being hopefull
  3. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    typical crap - someone looking for money on a patent they bought in 97.....why'd it take them so long to get around to suing now? Stupid - jpg is too much a part of the web, licensing it would cause a severe backlash and Forgent should just move on and try not to make money on something like this.


  4. agreenster macrumors 68000


    Dec 6, 2001
    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    Yeah, good luck trying to sue everyone with a copy of Photoshop and putting jpegs on their website.

    Very dumb indeed.
  5. raiderz182 macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2003
    north philly
    Forgent contacted each of the companies over the past year and offered them the chance to license the technology, said Forgent spokesman Michael Noonan. But none accepted, he said.
  6. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    yeah... and BT owns the 'Hyperlink'... :rolleyes:

    nuff said.

  7. Macmaniac macrumors 68040


    Welcome to the United States of Lawyers, in the Bar we trust! I mean how stupid can this get, jpeg has been around forever now, why wait so long!? :eek: :confused:
  8. MacZoro macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2004
    Valley of the Sun, AZ USA
    "Laches" - neglect to do a thing at the proper time; delay in asserting a claim.

    Actually, you make one good point, but one very poor point.
    Lawyers do not sue, "Litigants" sue
    To be an "attorney" is literally to be an Agent of someone.
    Therefore, attorneys by nature Act for someone else - their Principal

    So, to blame the United States of LAWYERS or the "Bar Association" is to ignore reality and to misplace blame.

    However, when you stated "why wait so long", you have actually anticipated one of the most important DEFENSES that the LAWYERS for the Defendants will surely raise during litigation; it is called "Laches".

    "Laches" - neglect to do a thing at the proper time; delay to assert a claim.

    If a Plaintiff is "guilty" of "laches", then their unlawful delay in asserting an otherwise just claim can be held against them, to their detriment.
    • In use since the mid-1980s, the JPEG, or Joint Photographic Experts Group, format has become the de facto standard for sharing photo-quality images electronically. Although the most widely used version of the format is in the public domain, Forgent said it believes that a 17-year-old patent it acquired through the purchase of Compression Labs in 1997 can be applied to a specific algorithm in the format.
      Defendants in the lawsuit include some of the biggest names in the computing industry, from Apple and IBM to Kodak and Xerox -- all of which use JPEG in their products.

      Forgent contacted each of the companies over the past year and offered them the chance to license the technology, said Forgent spokesman Michael Noonan. But none accepted, he said.
      "These companies have been using our patent technology in a wide variety of products for some time, and despite the ongoing negotiations that we've had with these companies to license the technology, they haven't done so," said Noonan. "So we were forced to litigate."
    One of the primary tenants of the law of intellectual property is that the holder must exercise due diligence in protecting such rights, and in asserting their claims of infringement of their rights to intellectual property such as patents and copyrights. Failing to do so is at their peril.

    This means the Plaintiff must demonstrate that it timely asserted its rights to such property by notifying those infringing on JPEG patents, and that it has aggressively tried to defend those rights and negotiate a resolution with prospective defendants prior to litigation.

    It is arguable that through neglect, laches, the Plaintiff has abandoned its rights to the intellectual property and that as such its rights have been transferred to the public domain and may now be used by anyone without payment of any fee. BUT, just because something has become popular and commonly used means little.

    Xerox does not lose the right to protect its name just because its "xerox" copying process is so popular with the public that many people now refer to the generic process of "copying" a document as "xeroxing".

    Here, Jim, would you "xerox" these papers for me on the Canon copier?

    Nor must Xerox sue every person misusing their copyrighted and protected name.

    To ignore the value of "intellectual property" and the right to control ideas and inventions and to profit from them is to ignore the differences between Apple's QuickTime, Microsoft's Window's Media Player, and Real's RealOne system.

    Right now, Steve Jobs is protecting Apple's control over what audio codec is used to play music on its iPod. RealOne wants to break down Apple's control over music purchased from the Apple Music Store as played on iPods exclusively, and as excluding the use of RealOne as a player and Real's music store as a source of music to be played on iPods. It's so complicated, I'm not sure I understand all the ramifications...except that Real is standing on the outside and wants Apple to let it in.

    When Steve Jobs states that in his opinion granting license of rights to Real is "just not worth it" may well mean that the expense to Apple in licensing Real to use its patents may cost more to negotiate the license agreement than the contract is worth to Apple in potential fees.

    Or, it could simply mean he feels that Apple needs to keep strict control over the relationship between music downloaded from the Apple Music Store onto computers and into the iPod as the sole player of such music, regardless of permitting iTunes to be used on PCs.

    Or, Steve Jobs may just be acting like a hardass piggy...in a black turtleneck. Oink!
    Hey, Steve. Being protective is one thing, being selfish and not letting the other kids play with your toys is just plain selfish.

    Remember what Momma told us
    about sharing our toys...
    with other girls and boys ;)

    So, is JPG free or what?
    Lawyers won't decide,
    some kickass Judge and take names Court will.
    Possibly a Jury could be involved.

    Millions are likely at stake here.
    Let's watch how HP and consortium manage the rights to use LightScribe technology used to burn laser perfect labels on the backs of CD/DVD discs,
    combining the laserburner in SuperDrives & Combos with a treated disc surface, and using specially designed software.
    If they are not selfish and indeed only charge "pennies" per disc
    then we should see the treated surface used extensively and the
    burning technology adopted universally. "Burn - Flip - Burn"
    Watch this short movie if you have FLASH Player
    Personally, I think it is the coolest idea to come along since
    holes in glazed donuts...yeah, sliced bread too. :D

    If Apple fails to adopt LightScribe technology from HP, it does so at its own peril. I can see it being readily incorporated into iDVD, iPhoto, iTunes and Roxio's Toast.
    Even Avery's Stomp/Stomper DISCUS could benefit from LightScribe by including it in their otherwise "color label" software. After all, LightScribe is still limited to monochrome so to have COLOR we still need to buy Avery paper labels and software to have color, or an Epson CD/DVD printing printer.

    The difficult part is balancing the introduction of hardware laser drives, treated discs, and software capable of exploiting LightScribe technology.

    MEMOREX could sell chemically treated "printable" discs which would either allow us to LightScribe discs with a laser or use an InkJet printer for full color.

    I can hardly wait for some chemist to come up with an RGB reactive chemical that reacts in COLOR to a laser burn depending on the temperature and intensity of the "laser burn"
  9. Sparky's macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    You kinda took all the talk out of this thread didn't you. I did enjoy reading it though. Suppose we (sorry you) just settled the case for them. You should forward this to the "Plaintiff". I need .jpeg in my industry, and would hate to see it go through the roof price wise or disappear altogether.
  10. Dippo macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2003
    Charlotte, NC

    Oh please, the lawyers are going to make loads of money off this, and they should be blamed just as much as those suing.

    Just look at the SCO case. SCO has spents millions on their legal case, and the companies they sued have spent similar amounts on lawyers. The only ones getting rich off this are lawyers.
  11. Bigheadache macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    Whilst I maybe no fan of American ambulance chasing lawyers, I think the blame for alot of this must go to the US Patents office for granting alot of BS patents (eg Amazon one click shopping). And thats not even counting the fraudulent people in the IT industry like RAMBUS.
  12. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    Kind of, i mean, it's no different than MS owning Windows Media codec... JPG is just a codec for images. But, as maczoro so eloquently pointed out, they've really lost their case here, no one even tried to enforce the patent for what, almost two decades? I don't think so. It hasn't worked in the past and it won't work now.

    And i really don't think lawyers are to blame, it's not like they run around knocking on CEO's doors, saying "hey, you and i should sue ___, it'd be fun!"... lawyers merely provide the service of finding legal ways to do the client's wishes. The problem is that everyone sees the judicial system as a big cashcow, so they try stupid **** like this. In a case like this, it's pretty much extortion... which is why a judge will throw the case out early on.

    i always wonder, when cases like this come up, where a person gets a patent and then lets the technology fall into fair use, then suing much later... if they do it on purpose, to try and force licensing and get damages. Wouldn't surprise me. But if it was intentional, they really should have consulted a lawyer earlier on, because they've got no case here.


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