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Microsoft Granted A Patent For GPU Video Encoding

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  • Microsoft Granted A Patent For GPU Video Encoding

    Phoronix: Microsoft Granted A Patent For GPU Video Decoding

    Back in 2004 there was a US patent application from Microsoft entitled "Accelerated video encoding using a graphics processing unit" and as of this morning the patent has been approved by the USPTO. Will this now further complicate matters for the Linux graphics stack?..

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=ODY3MQ

  • #2
    What a fucked up world.
    I don't know much about patents, but this kind of stuff sounds ridiculous to me.

    Comment


    • #3
      Isn't this a patent for video encoding, not decoding?

      Comment


      • #4
        Patent is for ENcoding, not DEcoding.

        Is it too hard to actually even read the excerpt you're pasting in before posting sensationalist falsehoods as news?

        I think software patents are as utterly unethical and bullshit as any other intelligent computer scientist, but this patent is not relevant to graphics/video drivers or their implementations, and it's actually even a bit novel in that I've never heard of anyone else doing this yet. It's still stupid because the GPU is just another processing unit and offloading calculations to it is natural and obvious (hence OpenGL, DirectCompute, CUDA, etc.), but this is not going to affect anyone in the OSS world besides the video ENcoding library/app developers.

        Comment


        • #5
          US has to 'first to invent' type of patent system.
          As much as this patent might seem binding, in reality,
          if the case goes to court, it would be almost impossible to enforce.
          Since there are many working
          implementations of the original idea, determining who was the first
          inventor is impossible in practice.
          For example, the date of filing is 2004, and nvidia had a working product on the market by this data (GF 6 series).
          Therefore, it's one those patents
          that is there, however doesn't change anything in practice.

          Originally posted by vertex2 View Post
          What a fucked up world.
          I don't know much about patents, but this kind of stuff sounds ridiculous to me.

          Comment


          • #6
            What about we patent, processing applications on CPU?
            And how about patenting all the characters on the world, so anyone who write a text have to pay us to publish their writings?
            Is it possible?

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            • #7
              It is not possible since it does not meet the non-obviousness patentability requirement.

              Originally posted by fernandoc1 View Post
              What about we patent, processing applications on CPU?
              And how about patenting all the characters on the world, so anyone who write a text have to pay us to publish their writings?
              Is it possible?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by aznabaal View Post
                It is not possible since it does not meet the non-obviousness patentability requirement.
                Nor does video encoding using GPU acceleration.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Maybe not now, but in 2004 it probably did meet this requirement.
                  I do not know the details of the patent office ruling and specifics of
                  the patent, however encoding streams using specific GPU methods
                  (not all methods, since the patent has to be about particular implementation not idea itself)
                  seems pretty non-trivial to me (dating back to 2004 or earlier).
                  I understand and share the general distrust to patents, but
                  being opinionated is not the best way to go.
                  Moreover, like I say, patent is just the first step to court ruling and
                  is only a recommendation not a right. Many patents are dismissed in court especially in the US.

                  Originally posted by movieman View Post
                  Nor does video encoding using GPU acceleration.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aznabaal View Post
                    Maybe not now, but in 2004 it probably did meet this requirement.
                    I was working on GPUs in 2004 and I can guarantee you that using them for video encoding was pretty damn obvious. If I remember correctly we were even talking with
                    a third-party about using GPUs for video encoding before then.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, great! Then in court, when Microsoft will have to prove
                      non-obviousness again, insiders like you can testify for the
                      defense - nvidia or whoever can possibly get sued.
                      However, if what you're saying is true, the patent is junk and
                      nobody will ever get sued.
                      Many times it is the case that patent office will grant a patent if
                      it's not sure, because during the trial the whole patent procedure
                      (like proving the first inventor and non-obviousness) has to repeated,
                      and all potential mistakes of the patent office wouldn't matter.
                      It creates these junk patents, that make the news in non-legal,
                      opinionated websites.

                      Originally posted by movieman View Post
                      I was working on GPUs in 2004 and I can guarantee you that using them for video encoding was pretty damn obvious. If I remember correctly we were even talking with
                      a third-party about using GPUs for video encoding before then.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is absolutely amazing.

                        A patent on running a program on a processor. :/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by aznabaal View Post
                          Many times it is the case that patent office will grant a patent if
                          it's not sure, because during the trial the whole patent procedure
                          (like proving the first inventor and non-obviousness) has to repeated,
                          and all potential mistakes of the patent office wouldn't matter.
                          It creates these junk patents, that make the news in non-legal,
                          opinionated websites.
                          This is the real problem in the system, because for anyone OUTSIDE the legal profession it creates a nasty quagmire of confusion which can only be resolved by having expensive lawyers to protect you... Which if you aren't a major corporation, you can't afford.

                          And you say this doesn't matter?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree. In general lawyer's services in the US are too expensive and it applies to patent law but also to many other issues
                            like medical or labor law suits. It is the characteristic of US legal system not a patent system per se.

                            However, in many cases it does not matter.
                            There are situations in which small business
                            is working on a technology that can violate one of these junk patents.
                            If the implementation is inferior to the incumbent's implementation
                            then the incumbent will usually not sue. If it's better the incumbent
                            will acquire it and incorporate the invention.
                            Usually we see lawsuits only in case someone big is infringing the patent.

                            Originally posted by RobbieAB View Post
                            This is the real problem in the system, because for anyone OUTSIDE the legal profession it creates a nasty quagmire of confusion which can only be resolved by having expensive lawyers to protect you... Which if you aren't a major corporation, you can't afford.

                            And you say this doesn't matter?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by aznabaal View Post
                              It is not possible since it does not meet the non-obviousness patentability requirement.
                              Then why would this patent be any different? All it is patenting is doing vector processing on a GPU, which, by definition, at the date the application was filed, was pretty obvious (libSH was produced in 2003...which was one of the first GPGPU type frameworks allowing for a lot more than rendering shaders to be developed- and it was only ONE of several around at the time.)

                              Comment

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