[Speex-dev] Speex

Jean-Marc Valin jean-marc.valin at usherbrooke.ca
Fri Jun 13 06:05:14 PDT 2008

Erik W. Rasmussen a écrit :
> We are currently in the process of evaluating speech codecs for the
> transmission of wideband speech (fs=16kHz) at bitrates lower than 32
> kb/s. Speex is a contender for this task.

Glad to hear that.

> But we would like to ask for your opinion regarding patent issues. If we
> go on the market with a Speex solution we would ideally reach reach
> sales of 1 million pcs/year. This could trigger a patent lawsuit where a
> third party holding a relevant or non-relevant patent would try to get a
> share of our profit. 

The sad reality is that anyone can be sued for pretty much anything with
patents, even when paying for patent licenses on a certain standard
(e.g. some unknown companies shows up and think it too should get a
piece of the pie). That being said, I don't think Speex really increases
that risk.

> We would of course not like this situation
> therefore we would like to ask you how you see the risks for the
> emergence of such a situation. More specifically:
> - Do you know of any patents that might be used against a Speex-based
> product? I assume that Speex is not violating any patents but regarding
> to US patent lawsuits everything is possible, the judges/jurys have
> litttle technical insight.

I do not know of any patent that Speex would be infringing. More
specifically, I have mainly written Speex based on technologies from the
80s for which any patent would have expired. For example, patents are
the reason Speex does not use ACELP.

> - Are there any products on the market, selling in large quantities,
> that incorporate Speex?

Yes. Speex is shipped in large companies by companies like Google
(Google Talk), RedHat/Novel (and most other Linux companies), and many
game companies (e.g. UT2004). I've even hear MS's Halo 2 is using Speex.
There's many more I know about and probably even more I don't know about.

Hope this helps,


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