I've been doing what I can in trying to talk Allwinner into open
sourcing the h264 encoding library. With H264 the patent royalties
are not paid by the OEM making the chips, instead they are paid at the
stage in the production chain where the branding is applied to the
item (like when Onda makes a tablet). Each brand gets 100,000 free
licenses, then licenses are $0.20. I got MPEGLA to write that up in
an email and sent it to Allwinner.
So there shouldn't be any real patent concerns about open sourcing the
encoder library. Of course no one can guard against trolls but trolls
are unlikely since they would have already attacked the big fish -
Apple - and we'd know about them.
Dear Mr. Smirl,
Thank you for your message and for your interest in MPEG LA. We
appreciate hearing from you and I will be happy to assist you.
As you appear to be aware, MPEG LA offers our AVC Patent Portfolio
License which provides coverage under patents that are essential for
use of the AVC/H.264 Standard (MPEG-4 Part 10). Under the License,
coverage is generally provided for end products that make use of
AVC/H.264 technology. Accordingly, the party offering such end
products for Sale to End Users (for example, the brand owner)
concludes the AVC License and is responsible for paying the applicable
royalties. An upstream OEM supplier or component supplier of non-end
products does not conclude our Licenses in order to provide coverage
for its customer's branded end products.
For your additional information, Google is a Licensee to MPEG LA's AVC
License for the AVC products they offer. However, coverage under
their AVC License cannot be extended to a third-party's branded end
Therefore, if a company incorporates Android software (which includes
AVC/H.264 functionality) into the company's own branded security
camera product, then the company offering the finished product for
Sale (e.g., camera brand owner) would need to conclude the AVC License
and would be responsible for paying the applicable royalties.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have additional questions
or would like a copy of the AVC License, please feel free to contact
Benjamin J. Myers
5425 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 801
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: +1 301 986 6660, Ext. 219
Fax: +1 301 986 8575