[UPDATED] Patent Madness by Tandberg?

Meet Lars Petter Endresen, Senior Engineer R&D at Tandberg. He is the official “inventor” named in this patent application:

METHOD, APPARATUS AND COMPUTER READABLE MEDIUM FOR CALCULATING RUN AND LEVEL REPRESENTATIONS OF QUANTIZED TRANSFORM COEFFICIENTS REPRESENTING PIXEL VALUES INCLUDED IN A BLOCK OF A VIDEO PICTURE

Business as usual. Strange claims on a very abstract level. The wonderful world of software patents.

BUT

In this case something strange is going on. Meet Jason Garett-Glaser, the primary developer of x264, a free h264/avc encoder.

Jason is not amused, to say the least. He claims that this patent effectively is a translation of his code commit to patent chinese. And his arguments backing the claim are quite impressive.

So according to the published information we have right now, it seems that Mr. Endresen filed a patent on something he didn’t create nor implemented. This could result in the true inventor being forced to remove his own code from his own software to avoid patent infringement. How weird is that?

This is patent business as usual. Unfortunately. While the politicians all across this planet are discussing stricter regulations on so-called plagiarism, infringement etc (think ACTA) this specific form of taking someone elses work and claiming to be its inventor is perfectly legal.

And you still ask why I personally think the patent system has severe problems? ;-)

[UPDATE] Jason tells the world in an update to his blog entry that he might have jumped to conclusions a bit too fast. This doesn’t change my arguments that there is a problem with the patent system though. A similar case has sprung up almost at the same time. And we all remember the SPF story (Sender Permitted From) which also shows the same pattern.

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6 thoughts on “[UPDATED] Patent Madness by Tandberg?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Patent Madness by Tandberg | Jan Wildeboer -- Topsy.com

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  3. Chris

    We shouldn’t leap to conclusions about Tandberg or the engineer’s behaviour in claiming a priority date similar to when some other prior art was published. People around the world are often working on solving the same problem, so it is expected that this will occur from time to time. Knowingly filing an application based on another person’s idea is stupid and pointless.. the patent will be unusable to Tandberg since it will be easily invalidated.

    Note that the application was filed in late 2009 but they are claiming priority in late 2008. To be granted the earlier priority they will need to provide lots of supporting evidence.

    Aside from what looks like a novelty issue, there could also be an obviousness issue. The algorithm has not been invented – it is already part of the H.264 specification. It has hard to find any inventive step when the SIMD instructions are just being used in their intended manner (to enable parallel implementation of operations such as clipping and identifying nonzero coefficients) to implement an already-existing algorithm.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Tandberg illustrates stupidity of software patent policy | TECHNOLOGY NEWS

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