On June 20, 2003, the United States patent on the LZW algorithm expired, which meant that Unisys could no longer collect royalties for use of the GIF format in that country. Those bothered by the patent enforcement dubbed this day GIF Liberation Day. The equivalent patents in Europe and Japan expired on June 18 and June 20, 2004 respectively, with the Canadian patent following on July 7.With patents expiring over the last three years around the world, it's only today that the Software Freedom Law Center feels the issue is finally and truly resolved. Maybe.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
October Trick or Treat
As of today (October 1, 2006), apparently the GIF format is completely free of patent restrictions. (Check out today's UserFriendly for a humorous take on the issue.) The interesting thing about this is crusing around the web, I found much along the lines of this Wikipedia quote: