Have the patents for h.263 expired yet?

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Patents possibly affecting use of h.263 video format (which can be played in .mov container by Safari, at least in some versions).

Not to be confused with MPEG-4 part 2 or h.264.

This is an incomplete, unofficial spot check. If you need to check this information for legal reasons, check with a real lawyer!

List pulled from ITU website search and cross-checked manually against Google patent database:


Probably not? Maybe? Depends?

While it looks like patents that were already granted and listed as such when h.263 went live appear to have all expired, there are some additional ones that got added after the 2005 spec update & republication. It's unclear so far whether they apply only to revision 3 ("h.263 plus"?) or back-cover all of h.263. This needs more research if it's important.

If those remaining patents can't be worked around, most expire in July 2020 and the last expires April 2023.

Patent list[edit]

Telenor AS

Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.

  • application 08-098629

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation

  • application PCT/JP97/02320
  • application 09-179847

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

  • application 97-47795
  • application 97-47712
  • application 97-42941
  • application 97-42942
  • application 97-59286

Robert Bosch GmbH

Netergy Microelectronics, Inc

Nokia Corporation (2007 additions?)