With video streaming being one of the hottest topics in the home entertainment world these days, the lawsuit of Max Sound Corporation against Google over video compression software has raised one or two eyebrows. This lawsuit follows a preliminary injunction against Shenzhen KTC Technology Co. Ltd and Pact Informatique SA, France against selling its Android-based devices at IFA, Berlin.
Video compression is the basis for video streaming and one of the employed technologies in H.264 is using ‘efficient data transport’ in some form. The underlying technology is protected by US patent # 7,974,339 owned by Max Sound. According to the company, everyone using an H.264 codec is violating the patent owned by Max Sound.
This applies, for example, to all YouTube video streamed over the internet, which is the reason why Max Sound is suing Google in the first place. The complaint alleges that Google negotiated with VLS about use of the ‘efficient data transmission technology’ and used the disclosed proprietary technology in Google’s own WebM/VP8 video codec without knowledge by VLS. Max Sound acquired the VLS technology for its own use in the distribution of HD audio.
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Max Sound has initiated lawsuits in Germany and the USA. If the company gains a favorable ruling by the courts it will be a significant development for all users of the H.264 codec. As such, I would not think that this will go through the courts easily. Under these circumstances an announcement from Max Sound in August 2014 makes much more sense now. Back then, the company announced that a well known intellectual property attorney, David H. Pohl, had joined its prestigious Advisory Board. (NH)