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Wed 7 Aug 2002 04:00 AM

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JPEG image format rights disputed

Texas-based company Forgent is claiming that it owns the patent to the ubiquitous JPEG image format, threatening legal battles over licensing revenue with dozens of consumer electronics manufacturers.

A small Texas-based videoconferencing company, Forgent Networks , is laying claim to the ownership of the JPEG image compression algorithm. The Joint Photographic Experts Group, an independent standards authority from which the JPEG format takes its name, is investigating the claim. Forgent acquired Compression Labs Inc. and, with it, a US Patent that refers to the compression technology behind JPEG.It is more than a decade since JPEG first achieved global popularity as an internet image standard.Richard Clark, editor of the JPEG.org, says: “It has always been a strong goal of the JPEG committee that its standards should be implementable … without payment of royalty and license fees, and the committee would like to records [its] disappointment that some organisations appear to be working in conflict with this goal.”If successful, Forgent’s legal claim could win them licensing royalties from makers of digital cameras, camcorders and personal computers.

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