Google has been facing major patent issues lately, with the most notable being Oracle’s case (launched in August of last year). Now Google may be facing an additional case against MPEG LA for Googles’ webM format.
The MPEG LA Claims and Case
MPEG LA, the licensing company who supports the H.264 format, has found a dozen companies who have patents that are “crucial for the webM format.” It’s not hard to see where the licensing company’s motivation comes from: Google stopped Chrome’s support for the H.264 format in favor of the open source webM earlier this year. The adoption of webM is made possible by HTML 5.
That’s not good news for the developers and licensing groups for H.264, of course, and if MPEG LA is correct, the interests of several companies are also tied into the adoption of webM. More importantly, the companies in question have patents that may prevent, or at least hinder, webM.,
The case would be established as a “VP8 pool license,” but for the time being, MPEG LA is still in the initial phases of dialogue with the companies concerned. It is as of yet unclear how much damage the case could do to Google or their open video format.
Modern Web Battles and the Modern Web Developer
As someone who works in web development, it can be tricky to know how to take news like this. When Google halted support for H.264, many developers followed suit, learning the ropes of webM and formatting their content so it would work smoothly in Google Chrome. But does this case change anything?
It’s too early to tell, but at the very least, this is a case worth watching. If Google is prevented from developing webM, it would mean a big change for video optimization plans, including Google’s own efforts to switch YouTube over to the webM format.
[Sources include: ITProPortal]