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Thread: crunch DXTc texture compression library threatened by a US software patent

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    crunch DXTc texture compression library threatened by a US software patent

    crunch is an open source (ZLIB license) texture compression library I released earlier this year that implements some pretty nifty forms of DXTc compression/transcoding. The patent in question is #20110115806 (HIGH-COMPRESSION TEXTURE MAPPING), more info here: http://code.google.com/p/crunch/

    Grr, software patents are crazy. Can anyone help me identify what mode(s) of crunch (if any) step on this patent? crunch implements three different modes:

    - Plain (vanilla block by block) DXTc compression (to .DDS files)
    - Rate distortion optimized ("clustered") DXTC compression (to .DDS files, which are later zipped, LZMA'd, etc.)
    - Transcodable .CRN files (very fast transcoding directly to DXTc bits with no intermediate recompression step)

    I would like to modify the library so it doesn't step on this patent (if it does at all). I wrote all this stuff years ago (I've been implementing this kind of stuff in the game industry for a long time), but I didn't get the free time to release it until earlier this year.

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    It's too bad you didn't release it before the patent application in 2010. Maybe you can find some prior art and bring it to the attention of the USPTO before it grants the patent (it is still pending). I'm not familiar with crunch and only read the claim at http://www.patentbuddy.com/Patent/20110115806 so I can't say what parts step on it.

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    Member m^2's Avatar
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    Damning, isn't it?
    If you can prove that you did this years ago or that you did things that the patent covers, you should be able to fight it successfully.

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    The U.S. won't switch to the first-to-file rule until next year. You can still prove that you invented it first (and so could he). Was your software used in any games published before 2010? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_t...irst_to_invent

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    Quote Originally Posted by m^2 View Post
    Damning, isn't it?
    If you can prove that you did this years ago or that you did things that the patent covers, you should be able to fight it successfully.
    Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kearns

    He sued Ford Motor Company in 1978 and Chrysler Corporation in 1982 for patent infringement. The Ford case went to trial in 1990. Ford lost, though the court held that Ford's infringement was not willful.

    There is a movie about his life mentioned at the site. I have read articles on his battles. It was a many year long fight. If you don't have years to spend fighting it may make little difference I think that into days world its not about being honest or correct its about money and political connections. Of course the changes that now come in automatic after next election assuming there will be an election means the small guys chances go down even more. It's all about the destruction of free enterprise.

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    Fascinating story about Kearns. I think to fight the GPU patent, you would need to file your own competing patent and show that it was invented first. Maybe the game company you wrote the software for can help you with this. I am sure they don't want to have to pay royalties on their own software.

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