MC-IF sponsored activity concludes its work
MC-IF announced that its VVC Pool Fostering activity has identified Access Advance and MPEG LA as possible administrators to take forward the work of pool formation covering patents essential to the VVC standard. The two pool administrators found strong support within the MC-IF sponsored activity (but neither achieved a consensus among the 49 participant companies according to the process adopted by VVC Pool Fostering). With this action, VVC Pool Fostering completes the work it launched in September 2020.
VVC Pool Fostering brought together companies believed to hold a substantial majority of the patents declared essential to implement the VVC standard. Its goal was to take steps to avoid the perceived confusion related to licensing of HEVC, the ITU/ISO/IEC video codec that preceded VVC. Although the participants did not find consensus around a single pool administrator, they found that VVC Pool Fostering gave early insight to participants in the VVC patent landscape and introduced some to pooling as an important mechanism for licensing standard essential patents.
The MC-IF sponsored activity, VVC Pool Fostering, had 49 participants drawn from East Asia (26), the US (15) and Europe (8), comprised of implementers, R&D companies and nonpractising entities. Of the companies that made accepted contributions in the development of the VVC standard, nine of the top 10 participated in VVC Pool Fostering. VVC Pool Fostering held seven meetings, all virtual, including two during which candidate administrators made detailed presentations. After an outreach to many possible candidates, four made presentations; of these two were eliminated by consensus. The two remaining, Access Advance and MPEG LA, were identified last week as possible administrators to continue the work of pool formation. VVC Pool Fostering took a model for pool fostering initially developed by DVB and scaled it for a group of patent holders that were more numerous and diverse, with a greater variety of business models.
Jud Cary, President of MC-IF, said, “MC-IF congratulates the participants and the efforts to clarify the landscape for VVC patent licensing. The VVC standard is an important step forward in video compression technology. Pooling as a mechanism for patent licensing will make it easier for implementers to bring to market early their devices and services based on VVC. Although it was an MC-IF objective, consensus around a single administrator was elusive. If the result is two pools, this is better than the prospect of an implementer seeking out a licence from each of the 49 holders of VVC-essential patents. Of course, MC-IF remains open to its members and other participants if in the coming months they wish to reopen this activity because new circumstances suggest that our objective of a single pool administrator is more likely to be achieved. VVC Pool Fostering is just one of our activities supporting VVC: MC-IF has also established a sub-profile registration process and undertaken other activities to support the development and launch of VVC devices and services.” Mr Cary also served as co-convenor of VVC Pool Fostering and is Deputy General Counsel of CableLabs.
Acting for one of the VVC companies, Stephan Wenger, Senior Director IP & Standards at Tencent America, said, “The 49 participants in VVC Pool Fostering reflected the broad diversity of industries attracted to the VVC standard. This diversity itself represented a challenge in trying to find a single consensus solution to the VVC licensing environment. Our convenor, Carter Eltzroth, took a proven model for pool fostering and adapted it to build participation and to increase engagement, including by those who are new to video-codec related patent pool licensing. In the end we have a solid foundation for work to complete the licensing framework for VVC.” Mr Wenger is also the chair of the IP Ecosystem Working Group within MC-IF.
Reflecting on the completion of the group’s activities, Carter Eltzroth, convenor of VVC Pool Fostering, said, “I thank the participants for their hard work over the past months. VVC Pool Fostering has now left its participants better prepared as they continue their discussions with two leading patent pool administrators. I congratulate Access Advance and MPEG LA and I look forward to news of the progress in VVC pool formation.”
The Media Coding Industry Forum (MC-IF) is an open industry forum with the purpose of furthering the adoption of MPEG Standards, initially focusing on VVC, by establishing them as well-accepted and widely used standards for the benefit of consumers and industry. Any party that supports MC-IF’s goals is invited to join the Forum. MC-IF addresses the non- technical aspects of deployment of media standards, notably including licensing, by facilitating cross-industry discussion. It provides a hub for information related to implementations, tools, and guidelines for usage of VVC and related standards. To join MC- IF, see www.MC-IF.org.
VVC Pool Fostering is further described at www.MC-IF.org/fostering.
About Access Advance
Further information on Access Advance (formerly HEVC Advance) can be found at www.accessadvance.com.
About MPEG LA
Further information on MPEG LA can be found at www.mpegla.com.