The most likely way Google would be able to get this would be through cross-licensing patents. They paid a LOT for Motorola's patents and maybe some of the MPEG-LA members wanted a cheap way to avoid violating some of those. But since I don't see any mention of cross-licensing then I don't know how likely this is.
> but does menttion that no licence is being offered by MPEG-LA...
I am curious how Google accomplished this. They know that VP8 would be worthless if people had to license it from MPEG-LA. It would make it effectively the same as H.264 from a end user's legal perspective. So they did something very important and impressive to have a blanket license granted to not only their VP8 implementation, but ALL VP8 implementations whether they are derivative or not. Without this it would pretty much eliminate any point in using it over the already well established H.264 stuff; both from business and open source perspective.
> I wouldn't put it past Google to have gone to MPEG-LA and said "look at this pile of evidence. Do you want us to give it to the USPTO and ask them to re-examine your patents? Just sign here and there'll be no unpleasantness :-)".
Given the history of USPTO and the massive unlikelihood that anybody would be able to defeat the patents by making them invalid in court I think this is extremely unlikely. Could be wrong, but I don't think so. It would be nice. By why play this game? Why not release the evidence and just leave it at that? They don't have to take MPEG-LA to court to convince other people that the patents have no teeth. Once people see the evidence then they would simply not feel compelled to pay MPEG-LA for the licenses over those particular patents. You don't need to court to destroy patents...
A alternative, and more somewhat more likely scenario (although I still think is unlikely), is that this is purely a marketing stunt. There is no way to prove a negative in this sort of case (MPEG-LA is not a risk). So Google figured out that the 'Fear and Doubt' game was working against VP8 adoption. The effective licensing costs for H.264 are so low that it made the legal issue mute when dealing with other large players. It was seen by large players that complying with H.264 was costing them virtually nothing and VP8 represented a unknown legal risk. So why risk it?
So Google simply threw a few million at MPEG-LA to get the blanket license for patents that seem like they could pose a risk, even if Google's lawyers think that they may be able to work around them. This way it removes the FUD and clears the way for the adoption of VP8 and VP9. This would be expensive, but they have a huge budget for promoting their products and maybe this was seen as a cheaper way to get users out of the shadow of doubt then to try to convince them through adverts and press releases.
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