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I am sure that some entity holds a broad enough patent that all your bases will belong to a Texas court.

And that's the real problem. Heck, it doesn't even need to be an NPE, it just needs to be one of the patent holders they're "avoiding" who wants to fire up some litigation.

They don't even need to be able to win. An existing "legit" patent holder might choose to simply throw lawyers at as a tactic to delay or defeat a potential competitor. In that case, it comes down to a cost/benefit analysis for the would-be litigator.

Certainly the risk is better with a royalty-free video codec, though. In the case of Daala, the goal is to be sufficiently different to avoid these broad patents, too.

Also, any companies contributing to the NETVC standard are required to declare IPR, which is not the case for MPEG standards.

> Certainly the risk is better with a royalty-free video codec, though.

I'm not sure what this means. A royalty-free video codec basically has a bullseye painted on it from the perspective of existing rightsholders. The only reason such entities might exercise restraint is because the cost/benefit analysis doesn't support litigation. Even if they don't think a competitor codec is a threat at the outset, there's nothing stopping an attacker from just sitting on the sidelines and waiting until the threat profile (and depth of infringers's pockets) becomes clearer. I.e. the "submarine patent" model, except it could even be a known patent in this case.

edit: clarity.

Er, sorry, you're right, that was a bad assertion. The submarine patent risk is pretty much the same in both cases - RF does not make it better. Early declarations to discourage use are more likely towards RF codecs, but are also easier to deal with.

I think Daala's development process (and IPR disclosure policies at the IETF) reduce the risk substantially. However, this is not automatically true of any RF codec.

This risk is there for pretty much any engineering you might want to do. The point here is to make a royalty-free codec, with as much IPR defense as possible.

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