The following questions and answers are designed to assist the reader and our licensees in understanding the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement. These FAQs are inherently general in nature and, therefore, do not alter or affect any of terms and conditions of the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement.
Absolutely not. The VP8 cross-license is not intended to change the rules for using WebM. We just wanted to provide a way, for those interested, to gain additional comfort using WebM if they wanted one.
The license covers Google’s and several other companies’ patent claims, if any, that are necessary to implement or use the VP8 format. For a list of the companies who have authorized Google to sublicense their VP8 Patent Claims should any exist, please see Primary Licensors.
Note that the license is on a per-claim basis, so a patent may contain some claims that are licensed and others that are not (for example, where only some claims, if any, are necessary for implementing the VP8 format).
In addition to the patent claims directly licensed or sublicensed by Google under this agreement, everyone who accepts this license grants all other licensees a reciprocal license under their own patent claims, if any, that are necessary to implement or use VP8.
Generally, the license permits the exploitation of the VP8 format in any device, system, software program, method or process, but the licensed field is limited solely to the functions of encoding, decoding, transcoding and playing VP8-format video. More specifically, the license covers only the making, using, selling (including licensing software), offering for sale (including offering software licenses) and importing of the portions of a product, system or computer program, and the steps of any method or process, to implement a VP8-compliant codec, where such activities may be covered by one or more of the licensed patents.
No. The license does not extend to any portion of a product, system or computer program or to any steps of any method or process that are not necessary to implement a VP8-compliant codec.
No. The license does not extend to any portion of a product, system or computer program or to any steps of any method or process that are not necessary to implement a VP8-compliant codec, even if the portion, method step or process forms a part of or is integrated with a VP8 codec and even if the VP8 codec also implements those process or method steps.
This license is available to any individual, company, or other legal entity that accepts the terms and conditions of the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement.
The license is free, that is, no royalty payments are required. However, to obtain the license you must grant a reciprocal license to Google, the Primary Licensors, and all other VP8 licensees (including those who become licensees after you do) under any patents you or your affiliates may own or control that are necessary for implementing VP8. Furthermore, in order to retain the license, you must not sue any other VP8 licensor or licensee for infringement of any necessary VP8 patent claims based upon that entity’s making, using, selling or offering for sale a VP8 product within the field of the license.
The agreement releases you from liability (with respect to Google and the other VP8 licensors and licensees) for infringing the licensed patent claims in the past, within the same field that is covered by the going-forward license. Similarly, you (or your company and its affiliates) release Google and the other VP8 licensors and licensees from liability for infringing the patent claims covered by your reciprocal license.
As explained above, your company is required to grant the reciprocal release and license, not only for itself, but also on behalf of its affiliates (such as its parent and subsidiary companies). However, the affiliates do not automatically also receive a VP8 license. To receive a VP8 license, each affiliate must independently agree to the terms of the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement.
The license granted to you lasts until the earlier of: (a) the last to expire of any patent having a patent claim licensed to you pursuant to the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement; or (b) your breach of any of the terms and conditions of the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement.
To enable the other VP8 licensees to rely on the rights granted to one another, the reciprocal license you grant will remain in effect for the life of the relevant patents, subject to defensive termination in relation to any other licensees who assert their VP8 patents in a manner contrary to the spirit of this licensing program (as explained in more detail below).
Existing open source licenses with patent provisions, such as Apache License 2.0, Mozilla Public License 2.0 and the GNU General Public License v3 are licenses that grant rights for particular software. In contrast, the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement grants patent rights independent of any particular software in order to provide you with assurance that you have freedom from claims of patent infringement, under the licensed patent claims and within the scope of the license, regardless of the origin of your VP8 software.
The VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement is independent from the WebM Project’s Additional IP Rights Grant. If you are using software from the WebM Project, the WebM Software License and WebM Additional IP Rights Grant are still available to you. However, the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement helps create a royalty-free ecosystem for VP8 and can grant you additional rights from the Primary Licensors and other licensees for additional assurance; we encourage you to fully participate in the ecosystem by signing up for the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement.
Google has released and will continue to release software under a variety of license agreements, including those with patent grant provisions. The VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement may be used by VP8 licensees to supplement their existing rights, but the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement is not intended to conflict with or replace the whole or any parts of those arrangements, nor does it grant any rights under Google’s WebM copyrights.
Google has designed the VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement so that all licensees enjoy freedom to exploit VP8 technologies under all other licensees’ necessary patent claims. However, it would be unfair to allow an individual or company to enjoy that freedom under another licensee’s or licensor’s necessary patent claims while simultaneously asserting its own VP8 necessary patent claims against that licensee or licensor. Accordingly, Google and all other VP8 licensees and licensors under the agreement have a defensive-termination right. In the event any VP8 licensee sues Google or another VP8 licensee or licensor for infringement of a VP8 necessary patent claim, then the plaintiff’s licenses under Google’s and all other VP8 licensees’ and licensors’ necessary patent claims automatically terminate.
The VP8 Patent Cross-License Agreement is also structured to address a practice now commonly known as “privateering.” Some patent owners have taken to outsourcing the aggressive enforcement of patents to third parties, while retaining an ownership or financial stake in the patents or revenues flowing from litigation judgments and settlements. If a party stands to benefit financially directly from the enforcement of VP8 necessary patents by third parties, then that connection will also serve as a defensive termination trigger, even though the benefiting party is not a named participant in any patent infringement lawsuit.
Yes, we are in the process of drafting a VP9 cross-license.
We created the WebM CCL prior to entering into our agreement with MPEG LA and the other licensors. Once we have launched the VP9 cross-license, we will consider how to proceed with the WebM CCL.