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Licensing Firm Preps for MPEG-7 Standard

Word on the street is that the arrival time for MPEG-7 may be just around the corner, or at least for all the private and public entities that have a stake in the newest version of the popularly used multimedia compression standard.

So San Francisco-based Via Licensing Corp., a subsidiary of Dolby Laboratories, Inc., put out the call Thursday for all MPEG-7 patent holders and applicants to come forward and identify themselves.

Via Licensing conducts patent licensing programs on behalf of patent licensees of mandated or emerging standards to discuss how certain technologies will be implemented.

According to Via, the defining terms for MPEG-7 patent holders are businesses that have one or more claims that would be infringed upon by the implementation of the MPEG-7 standard.

"A standard like MPEG-7 is developed with the cooperation of dozens of companies from around the world," said Andrew Fischer, director, licensing business development for Via Licensing. "In order to help the standard be commercialized, streamlining the licensing process of essential patents is important. The first step is in identifying patent holders who will then convene in order to discuss commercialization prospects."

The MPEG standard, developed by Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), a working group of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is one of the more popular formats for transmitting and decoding multimedia content.

MPEG-4, the most recent issue of the MPEG standard, is a graphics and video compression standard that is based on MPEG-1, MPEG-3, and Apple QuickTime technology.

According to Fischer, the order of MPEG technology is not sequential, but is designed to complement all MPEG standards.

"MPEG-7 is not a next-generation replacement for prior MPEG standards," said Fischer. "But it is an entirely different set of tools that are designed to make digital media easier to identify, catalog, index, archive, and retrieve."

MPEG-7 was standardized by ISO in September 2001. Formally named "Multimedia Content Description Interface," MPEG-7 is a standard that provides a set of tools to describe multimedia content that is passed onto, or accessed by, a device or a computer code.

MPEG-7 is related to metadata, which according to Fischer is content that describes the content that is shipped along with the content.

Markets for MPEG-7 will extend from the capture, production, archiving, distribution, and consumption of content.

Via Licensing Group is inviting all entities that have been granted MPEG-7 patents, as specified by the ISO, to discuss the future terms for MPEG-7 patents.

Patent holders must first contact Via Licensing for details on how to submit information regarding this discussion process.