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Microsoft GPU video encoding patent could hurt creatives

updated 02:35 pm EDT, Tue October 12, 2010

Microsoft wants to patent GPU video encoding

A US patent filing published today has raised concerns as it could give Microsoft control of hardware-accelerated video encoding. A continuance of an application for "accelerated video encoding using a graphics processing unit" would cover the common technique of calculating motion for video processing with the video chipset in a computer rather than the regular, usually slower main CPU. Its techniques are broad and cover tricks like turning each frame into macroblocks to process them in parallel.

A successful patent could put the feature sets of modern graphics hardware at risk without a clarification or a settlement. The basic concepts have already been used in accelerating video processing for the past few years, starting with independent apps such as Elements' Badaboom but also including Adobe's Premiere video editing suite. Both AMD and NVIDIA have made a point of using general purpose computing like CUDA, DirectCompute and OpenCL to speed up video encoding on their own graphics cores.

Microsoft hasn't been granted the patent despite it having been first filed in September 2004, but it may face challenges to the claims from companies that began using GPU video encoding independently after the patent application was filed but before it was published.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    Microsoft ..................... could hurt creativ

    read between the lines, and this is nothing new.

  1. mkex

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2010


    I understand the purpose of patents

    But this environment is really starting to suck.
    and Macrosuck leads the pack with GooGoo close behind.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999



    If this is as common a technique as the author claims, then the patent will not hold up in court, even if the patent is granted.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Seems to me

    that pushing common compute intensive processes/calculation, previously performed by the CPU or FPU, to the gpu is already being done without Microsoft's claim on it. It's already being done, so it should be a no-go on the patent. If it's granted, it would be among the stupidest patents ever.

    Wasn't this largely the purpose of OpenCL?

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    The Khronos OpenCL Working Group

    should fight this one till the patent is revoked or denied.

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