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No Content Royalties in Sisvel VP9/AV1 Patent Pools

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Yesterday Sisvel International S.A. announced two new patent pools offering licenses on patents "relevant to the VP9 and AV1 specifications," applying to consumer devices like smartphones, TVs, set-top boxes, and consumers. Today, Sisvel Group CEO Mattia Fogliacco elaborated on the patent pools, confirming there will be no content royalties but not ruling out royalties on software-based encoding.

Streaming Media:You mention a number of companies in your Video Coding Licensing Platform. Which owns rights in the VP9 and AV1 pools?

The current Patent Owners of both the pools in the Video Coding Licensing Platform have been working jointly on the launch of both pools. The patents offered by the licensing programs are the result of external third-party evaluations, and only patents considered necessary to practice the VP9 and/or AV1 specifications are included in the respective license offers. We are currently validating additional patent portfolios for each of the pools.

There appears to be no royalty cap; is that correct?

Our Video Coding Licensing Platform offers a committed volume scheme as alternative to running royalties. Under such a scheme, the royalty shall be paid in advance per calendar year for the committed volumes of a relevant product category. We believe that this system achieves the same market efficiencies as caps, reducing the friction in licensing transactions and provides for a fair and equitable access to the licenses, at the same conditions, for all players.

Will you supply a list of essential patents for each pool?

Every licensing offer we make for the pools will refer to a list of the available VP9- or AV1-specific patents included in the relevant licensing offer. With the patent call that we announced today, we invite owners of VP9- or AV1-specific patents to join our Video Coding Licensing Platform, provided that their patents are considered necessary to implement the VP9 and/or AV1 specifications by a third-party evaluator. We therefore expect the patent list to expand over time.

Does this mean that you won’t post a list on your website?  What does one have to do to get the list?

We will post a list of patents on our website, as we do with every licensing program we manage; it's our standard practice. We are planning to post it before reaching out with concrete license offers to implementers.

Do you have any licensees at this point?

Sisvel just launched the Video Coding Licensing Platform today, so naturally, the pools don’t have any licensees.

Your patents cover display and non-display devices. You say "The licenses offered by Sisvel do not cover: content on physical digital media storage or non-physical content distribution; or components or subassemblies such as, without limitation, chipsets, semiconductor components or embedded modules."

Does this mean that you won’t be seeking royalties for software-based decoding (e.g. browser) and/or content encoded with either format?

Sisvel is committed not to charge content encoded with either format. While the first area of interest is mobile telephones, tablets and other hand-held devices, smart-TVs, set-top boxes and personal computers, the program may, at a later stage, include also software products.

We would also very much like to emphasize that Sisvel engaged in this process to facilitate the access to patented technologies for those companies that want to practice the VP9 or AV1 technologies. We understand the role of a patent pool administrator as the one of a market transactions facilitator: We trust that both innovators and implementers will endorse this initiative that aims at eliminating friction in licensing transactions.




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