Govt. Decides To Take Second Look at JPEG Patent

Looks like the feds have decided to take a second look at the controversial JPEG patent which forces companies to pay millions of dollars in royalties each year to support the popular standard in applications and web browsers.

Forgent’s JPEG patent to be reviewed: The US Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to review the lucrative and controversial “JPEG patent” held by Forgent Networks. The reexamination comes at the request of the Public Patent Foundation (PubPat), an advocacy group that has been seeking to overturn the so-called ‘617 patent since it was effectively enforced. At the heart of the matter is a data compression patent granted in 1987, currently held by Forgent Networks. The patent was acquired when Forgent purchased Compression Labs in 1997, and Forgent later came to claim that the patent covers technology that is used in the JPEG image file format. Forgent has sued dozens of companies while signing licensing agreements with dozens more, generating the company more than US$1 million a year in gross revenues.