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Forgent Networks

In 2002 Forgent Networks asserted that it owns and will enforce Patent rights on the widely-used JPEG image compression standard which is used widely on the World Wide Web. The announcement has created a furor remisicent of Unisys' attempts to assert its rights over the GIF image compression standard.

The patent cited is U.S. Patent No. 4,698,672, "Coding system for reducing redundancy".

It has been speculated that the legal principle of laches may apply in this case.

The JPEG community has responded to Forgent's claims by issuing a news release, stating that it believes that prior art exists that would invalidate Forgent's claims relating to the baseline implementation of JPEG, and launching an appeal for prior art evidence.

They further state:

It has always been a strong goal of the JPEG committee that its standards should be implementable in their baseline form without payment of royalty and license fees, and the committee would like to record their disappointment that some organisations appear to be working in conflict with this goal. Considerable time has been spent in committee in attempting to either arrange licensing on these terms, or in avoiding existing intellectual property, and many hundreds of organisations and academic communities have supported us in our work.

The up and coming JPEG 2000 standard has been prepared along these lines, and agreement reached with over 20 large organisations holding many patents in this area to allow use of their intellectual property in connection with the standard without payment of license fees or royalties.

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