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Samsung sued for offering H.265 support even after its HEVC license had expired


Samsung Electronics GmbH, Germany, has been sued by Moving Picture Experts Group Los Angeles (MPEG LA) for infringing HEVC (H.266) patents under MPEG LA’s Patent Portfolio License. Unlike AV1, which is an open standard codec, High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) requires a license for use and distribution, and according to the lawsuit filed, Samsung was still continuing to offer products, like smartphones, TVs, among others, that came with HEVC support even after its license had expired in March of 2020.

The press release notes:

According to the complaints, Samsung Electronics GmbH’s parent Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. was both Licensor and Licensee to MPEG LA’s HEVC Patent Portfolio License from Fall 2014 until terminating in March 2020, but Samsung has continued to offer products including smartphones, tablets and televisions in Germany that use patent protected HEVC methods without license since termination.

HEVC or H.265 was released in 2012 and the codec promised half video file sizes compared to its predecessor, AVC or H.264, without any noticeable loss to fidelity. Since then, HEVC has been succeeded by Versatile Video Coding or VVC / H.266 which once again promises even smaller file sizes.

Comparison of HEVC and AVC

Interestingly, probably unaware of what's coming, Samsung recently started a new campaign in Poland promoting its QLED TVs that feature the new Digital Video Broadcasting — Second Generation Terrestrial (DVB-T2) standard with HEVC codec support. Samsung says the aim of this campaign is to move Polish people to the new standard by June 30, 2022 as the previous DVB standard won't be applicable anymore.

Source: MPEG LA (pdf file)

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