Forgent Networks, of Austin, Texas, a small videoconferencing company, has announced that it is pursuing patent claims on the portion of the JPEG technology that is used in the JPEG digital still-image compression standard, as previously defined by the independent body of Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) in 1990. This JPEG data compression standard is used in personal computers, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and on the Internet. Data compression technologies are used in computing to shorten files so that they take less download time and require less storage capacity. JPEG is the most common and widely used format for posting photographs and images on the World Wide Web and in sending such photos and images via email.
Forgent acquired the patent, originally issued to Compression Labs in 1987, after a merger with Compression Labs in 1997, and has invested over $1 million to research and secure its patent claims. So far, Forgent Networks has collected royalty-licensing payments from Sony Corporation and a yet unnamed Japanese digital camera manufacturer for their use of the claimed patented technology. Forgent is currently proceeding with patent claims against another fifty companies, which could net Forgent from between $100 to $300 million if its claims are successful. The JPEG standards group has announced that it will seek to invalidate the patent claims of Forgent and others thus far, including Philips Corporation and Lucent Technologies, because they feel the JPEG standard does not apply to patent claims.