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Why the Via LA Streaming Codec Pool Merger Matters

Via Licensing shook the MPEG licensing world in May 2023 when it acquired MPEG LA to form the Via LA juggernaut. And how is that deal shaking out now, six months on, as licensors and patent holders alike survey the landscape? Robert J.L. Moore, Patent Attorney, Moore IP Solutions discusses the implications with Mattia Fogliacco, President, Sisvel Group, in this clip from November 2023’s Streaming Media Connect.

Moore asks Fogliacco about the Via Lincensing and MPEG LA merging. “Describe who the players are here, the importance of this merger, and how is this likely to affect codec licensing in the future?”

Fogliacco says that both entities have been the most important patent pool operators, with Via Licensing controlled by Dolby and MPEG by a number of companies, including General Electric, and that the licensing of standard essential patents is normal in a maturing market. “I think it is good news, because more efficiency will be provided to the market through this new vehicle,” he says. “I think it helps streamline some of the licensing operations that both companies were having. I think will provide an increase [of] efficiency and effectiveness.”

He notes that this merger will also make for tougher competition in the codec space but that this competition will be good for licensees and licensors, who will be pushed toward being more creative and ambitious by addressing issues in the market. He says that Sisvel is unique in having a technical domain team of experts who have worked to validate the assumption that there would be VP9 patents held by companies outside of Google and The Alliance for Open Media. “How did we do that?” he says. “Back at the time, our specifications for everyone were not even available. There was only pseudocode, and our team mapped the patterns of these players to the pseudocode, validating what later would be also validated through a mapping to the specification. Those validations were then confirmed by third-party experts. Now it's a level of domain expertise that allows us to engage in a different fashion in technical discussions and in licensing discussions. I'm not entirely sure how other pool operators are doing [this] because I think if you want to be truly on top of the subject, you need this technical expertise, and I'm super happy that this is present for video encoding and other domains in Sisvel. That is something that still differentiates us from Via LA.”

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