Patent Office to Re-examine JPEG Patent

Abstract

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to review a patent held by Forgent Networks on the JPEG compression technique. An organization called the Public Patent Foundation had petitioned the patent office to review the patent. The Public Patent Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to minimizing what it sees as damage that patents cause, and last year it reportedly persuaded Pfizer to narrow its patent claims on Lipitor. The JPEG patent is extremely lucrative for Forgent, especially since the explosion of digital cameras in the past few years. The company has reportedly earned more than $100 million from the patent, which officials from Forgent said could be worth $1 billion. CEO Richard Snyder said his company has thoroughly investigated the patent and is confident it will be upheld. He said there are no "convincing arguments of invalidity" and the company "look[s] forward to an efficient reexamination." The Public Patent Foundation said that when the patent office agrees to reconsider a patent, it makes changes in 70 percent of cases, though that does not always mean the patents are invalidated.

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