MPEG-4 Systems Patent Pool Analysis

This page proposes an analysis of MPEG-LA’s Patent Portofolio for MPEG-4 Systems.

Disclaimer: I’m no lawyer, and this page carries only my interpretation. It’s worth no more than that, but still might be helpful for some discussions.

If you spot any mistake. Let me know.

ISO Base Media File Format related patents

Patent US 6,134,243 by Apple Inc, titled “Method and apparatus for media data transmission”. To my understanding, this patent is related to the ISO Base Media File Format, but only if you use hint tracks. The patent talks about “a […] set of instructions to cause said digital processing system to determine said transmission protocol, wherein said transmission protocol comprises a packet data protocol.”  Clearly, this is related to systems that need to determine the protocol from a file, so this is applicable to streaming servers. So this does not seem essential for clients nor for servers not relying on hint tracks.

Patent US 6,707,944 by ETRI, titled “Computational graceful degradation method using priority information in multiple objects case”. To my understanding, this patent could be linked to ISO BMFF Degradation Box or to the degradationPriority tool in the MPEG-4 Systems part. It seems to be only applicable when one uses one of these tools. I’ve never seen it used.

MPEG-4 BIFS related patents.

Patent US 6,556,207 by France Telecom, “Graphic scene animation data signal with quantization object, corresponding method and device”. To my understanding, this patent is applicable to the MPEG-4 BIFS format when using BIFS Animation Streams.

Patent US 6,549,206 by France Telecom, “Graphic scene animation signal, corresponding method and device”. To my understanding, it is applicable to the MPEG-4 BIFS format.

Patent US 6,075,901 by France Telecom, “Method and system for predictive encoding of arrays of data”, is applicable to the MPEG-4 BIFS standard when using the Predictive MF Coding technique.

Patent US 6,204,854 by France Telecom, “Method and system for encoding rotations and normals in 3D generated scenes”, is clearly applicable only to MPEG-4 scenes using 3D content with rotations and normals.

Patent US 6,092,120 by Oracle, “Method and apparatus for timely delivery of a byte code and serialized objects stream”, seems to relate to the delivery of MPEG-J content, Java code to manipulate MPEG-4 BIFS content.

Patent US 6,911,982 by France Telecom, “Data signal for modifying a graphic scene, corresponding method and device”. This patent is not part of the patent pool, but has been raised in the course of the aborted W3C REX recommendation. It relates to the use of scene updates in BIFS.

Uncategorized patents.

Patent US 5,844,867 by Philips, “Methods and apparatus for encoding and decoding an audio and/or video signal, and a record carrier used therewith or produced therefrom”. It deals with buffer management for video streams. It is clear that it does not relate to the MPEG-4 BIFS specification, but it is unclear if it relates to the ISO Base Media File Format.

Patent US 6,091,769 by Samsung, “Video decoder having an interfacing function for picture synchronization”. This patent is about a video decoder interface, and the text talks a lot about MPEG-2 Transport Stream, and Packetized Elementary Streams (PES). I don’t understand why it would be applicable to MPEG-4 Systems, including the ISO Base Media File Format.

Patents without English translation

Patent KR 239,837 by Philips, “Video Signal Transmission Method and/or audio and apparatus”

Patent JP 2,814,819 by Mitsubishi

Patent KR 100,718, by Samsung, “Video Signal Transmitting & Receiving Circuit and the Method thereof”

Patent JP 3,188,237 by Sharp (expired October 30, 2009)

Groupe Multimédia / Multimedia Group