Please email any questions you have to our Q&A Department.
Q: What does the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License cover?
A: The MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License provides coverage under MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio Patents for the MPEG-2 Video and Systems standard specifications: ISO/IEC IS 13818-1 Information Technology – Generic Coding of Moving Pictures and Associated Audio Information including annexes C, D, F, J, and K; ISO/IEC IS 13818-2 including annexes A, B, C, D but excluding scalable extensions; and IS 13818-4 but only as it is needed to clarify IS 13818-2 (“MPEG-2 standard”). As of January 1, 2006, parties using the MPEG-2 Systems Standard in products without licensed MPEG-2 video encoders or decoders will benefit from coverage under the MPEG-2 Systems Patent Portfolio License, in addition to other licenses that may be required (e.g., for non-MPEG-2 video codecs).
Q: Who are the essential patent holders (“Licensors”) to the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License?
A: Click here.
Q: What are the obligations of the Licensors with regard to their MPEG-2 Essential Patents?
A: Each Licensor is under an obligation to grant to MPEG LA a worldwide, nonexclusive license under all MPEG-2 Essential Patents that it has the right to license or sublicense to allow MPEG LA to grant worldwide, nonexclusive sublicenses under such patents under terms of the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License.
Q: Are all MPEG-2 Essential Patents included?
A: No assurance is or can be made that the License includes every essential patent. The purpose of the License is to offer a convenient licensing alternative to everyone on the same terms and to include as much essential intellectual property as possible for their convenience. Participation in the License is voluntary on the part of essential patent holders, however.
Q: How may a patent holder become a Licensor to the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License?
A: Any party that believes it has patents which are essential to the MPEG-2 Standard, and wishes to participate in the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License upon successful evaluation, is invited to submit them for evaluation and inclusion. Click here to request a copy of the terms and procedures governing the patent submission process.
Q: Who decides which patents are essential?
A: Dr. Kenneth Rubenstein of the New York-based law firm Proskauer Rose LLP heads the independent patent evaluation and is MPEG LA’s US patent counsel. Other members of the team include Gottfried Schull, Thomas Rox and Ralph Schipppan of Cohausz & Florack in Düsseldorf for the evaluation of European patents; Hideo Ozaki of Ohba and Ozaki in Tokyo for the evaluation of Japanese patents; and Moon & Moon of Seoul, Korea for the evaluation of Korean patents.
Q: What is the effect on Licensees when new patents are added to the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License?
A: New Licensors and new patents are added with no increase in royalty rates during the current Term of the License. Licensees enjoy coverage under such patents from the License effective date (June 1, 1994) forward.
Q: How is the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License organized?
A: Click here for information.
Q: What are the royalties for the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License and on which products are they payable?
A: Click here for information.
Q: Who would benefit from the MPEG-2 License?
A: The MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License provides coverage under patents that are essential for use of the MPEG-2 Video and Systems Standard. Therefore, products that include MPEG-2 functionality (for example, MPEG-2 decoding in a set-top box, television, PC or DVD player) and bear the brand name that Licensee owns or otherwise has the right to use at Licensee’s discretion need to be licensed under these essential patents and will benefit from coverage under our MPEG-2 License.
Under the MPEG-2 License, coverage is provided and royalties are paid on MPEG-2 end products that are sold under a brand that the Licensee owns or has the right to use (“MPEG – 2 Products”). Accordingly, the party that offers (directly or indirectly) such branded MPEG-2 Products for Sale to the end user is responsible for being licensed and paying the applicable royalty. In the case where a company offers its own end products (for example, a DVD player that bears the brand name that Licensee owns or otherwise has the right to use at Licensee’s discretion) then that company would benefit from the coverage provided under the License and would be responsible for paying the applicable royalties. Alternatively, if such company offers only components or OEM products for its customers (for example, products sold under a brand name owned or rightfully used by a customer) then such product would not be licensed under the License.
Q: How do I know if my DVD disc replicator or duplicator is licensed for use of MPEG-2 technology under essential MPEG-2 patents?
A: Content providers and others that contract for DVD Video disc replication and duplication services have liability for patent infringement when they deal with unlicensed replicators and duplicators. But since most DVD disc replicators and duplicators are licensed, it is not difficult to do business with those who are meeting their obligations. For a list of DVD Video disc replicators and duplicators who are meeting their patent licensing obligations, please go to the current list of MPEG-2 Licensees in Good Standing located here.
Q: What is the Term of the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License?
A: The License provides coverage through the expiration of the MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio Patents.
Q: How does MPEG LA ensure that sublicensing remains fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory?
A: The MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License offered by MPEG LA has the same terms and conditions for all Licensees. Further, the License also ensures a fair process of obtaining new MPEG-2 Essential Patents and for a Licensee to license its own MPEG-2 Essential Patents to the pool on the same terms and conditions as all licensors.
Q: What is the difference between MPEG-1 and MPEG-2?
A: The original goal of the ISOs MPEG committee was to create a standard for the delivery of video on a compact disc. The committee specifically targeted bitrates of around 1.2 Mbits per second (Mbps) for video. That original standard is known as MPEG-1. The ISOs MPEG Committee developed a second effort that takes advantage of higher bandwidths (data rates) to deliver higher image resolution and picture quality. Specifically, this effort targeted increased image quality in ranges from about 3 to 15 Mbps, support of interlaced video formats, and provision for multi-resolution scalability. This is MPEG-2.