Nokia throws spanner into Google's plans for VP8 codec standard

Nokia says VP8 does not qualify as a standard and has refused to license patents that pertain to VP8.

Nokia has refused to license a handful of patents in a move that could be make it difficult for Google to realise VP8 codec as 'royalty-free' standard.

Last week Nokia filed a declaration to web standards organisation the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) saying it was not willing to license patents for components of the VP8 standard, which Google is seeking to make an "open, royalty-free" alternative to the H.264 HD video playback standard.

The Finnish company listed 64 granted patents and 22 pending patent applications that it believed are relevant to the IETF "VP8 Data Format and Decoding Guide" RFC6386 specification for the VP8 codec, according to patents expert Florian Mueller.

Mueller notes that Nokia's refusal to license its patents for free or FRAND could make implementing VP8 may be more costly than H.264.

Nokia says it took the "unusual step" of withholding licences because VP8 was not an industry-wide effort, but an attempt by one company to force through proprietary technology in a standard.

"Nokia believes that open and collaborative efforts for standardization are in the best interests of consumers, innovators and the industry as a whole," Nokia said in a statement emailed to ZDNet.

"We are now witnessing one company attempting to force the adoption of its proprietary technology, which offers no advantages over existing, widely deployed standards such as H.264 and infringes Nokia's intellectual property. As a result, we have taken the unusual step of declaring to the Internet Engineering Task Force that we are not prepared to license any Nokia patents which may be needed to implement its RFC6386 specification for VP8, or for derivative codecs."

Nokia's patent knock back follows a VP8 win for Google , which ended a long-running dispute with the MPEG LA, LCC earlier this month.

The agreement was not an admission VP8 infringed on MPEG LA patents, but a measure to provide more certainty to VP8 implementors.