Forgent Networks sued not less than 31 companies on Thursday for violating a patent for data compression used in the JPEG standard. Among the 31 sued companies are for instance Apple, Dell, Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Macromedia, Xerox,... All of these were sued after Forgent Networks wasn't able to negotiate with the firms to establish a similar contract like they had arranged with Sony.
Sony paid Forgent a one-time fee of $16 million to license the technology. Microsoft is not sued Forgent said, because they are still negotiating with them. Microsoft and Forgent Networks have not yet reached an agreement.
Forgent has been able to make licensing agreements with over 30 companies for a total amound of $90 million in licensing revenues.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) files are used by a wide variety of hardware and software products to display digital images. The procedure used to compress digital images in order to create a JPEG file infringes on Forgent's patent for a similar method of digital image compression, the Austin, Texas, company alleged.
In 2002, Forgent announced it held this patent, and said it planned to seek licensing agreements from any company that sells products that compress or store digital images. Now that the company has decided to sue these 31 companies, it is seeking damages and an injunction prohibiting the companies from selling products with technology that infringes upon the patent, Noonan said.
The Independent JPEG Group (IJG) said in 2002 that Forgent's patent was related to a different type of compression technology than the one used by the JPEG standard. A representative from IJG could not immediately be reached for comment.