We need a countdown
Posted Sep 7, 2006 22:01 UTC (Thu) by dwheeler
In reply to: We need a countdown
Parent article: SanDisk faces MP3 licence dispute (BBC)
A general countdown would be a good idea.
Tracking down the patent databases is really difficult, and it's often difficult to determine if a standard actually REQUIRES a given patent. There IS a simpler way to get an upper bound and probable estimate for standards.
As noted here, MP3 was publicly spec'ed in 1991; patents last 20 years, so no patent could be valid after 2011. It's morely likely that patents were revealed at least a year before (because otherwise public discussions would have invalidated the patent filing), so it's probable that any VALID patents would expire by 2010. It's 2006, so it's probably about 4 years to MP3 freedom.
It may even be less. So the upper bound would be 2011, and likely less.
At least it's a partial answer.
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