[whatwg] Patent on VP3 / Apple

xiphmont at xiph.org xiphmont at xiph.org
Thu Dec 13 18:04:49 PST 2007

On Dec 13, 2007 5:46 PM, Manuel Amador (Rudd-O) <rudd-o at rudd-o.com> wrote:

> <p>Apple's position on this is very surprising. Apple is ostensibly concerned
> about some unspecified legal risk from Theora. However, Apple ships the
> flash plugin, including the VP6 codec, which is based on the same VP3 code as
> Theora. Therefore, if there were some undisclosed patent, Apple is already
> at risk. They would take little additional risk shipping a theora
> decoder.</p>

VP6 is a direct descendant of VP3, but there's alot of technical
change at the 'tactical' level.  Strategically (overall design) it's a
very similar codec.  At the tactical level (specific points of
implementation in the overall design) it has alot of differences.   It
is not at all impossible for there to exist somewhere a patent that
reads on one and not the other.  If Apple knows something, they
haven't told anyone else.  All of this is just speculation.

I'm literally chomping at the bit to find a way to get the needed
legal teams all in one room actually talking to each other so we can
start dealing in *facts*.  I believe facts will serve my agenda very

> <p>This leaves only two plausible explanations for Apple's
> behavior. Either:</p>
> <p>1) Apple's real motivation is to promote Quicktime by sabotaging Ogg</p>

I know it's fashionable to slam Apple right now for being "the new
Evil", but I don't want to play that game.  Even if Apple's real
motivation is entirely selfish (promote Quicktime over Ogg) can you
blame them?  That would be, by far, the easiest course of action to
explain to shareholders.

I also don't think Apple knows anything specific.  I think they have
some legitimate fear of the unknown and this isn't just
obstructionism.  That's my take, and it's pure speculation.  I'd like
very much to work with Apple and address their concerns.

> <p>2) Adobe is indemnifying Apple against a patent lawsuit over the Flash
> plugin</p>

Honestly can't comment.  I'd love to know if that was the case too.

> Is there anything truthful / false in this comment?

Apple has made the same patent uncertainty statements in the past
regarding both Vorbis and FLAC.  I see no evidence (as yet) that
Apple's objection is anything specific to Tremor.  I think they see
merely that MPEG, of which they are a part, has laid a huge patent
minefield designed to discourage competition and it's hard to believe
anyone has navigated through it.


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