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LZW Software and Patent Information

Web Site LZW Licenses Available from Unisys


Clarification, posted September 2, 1999:
We have received numerous telephone calls and e-mails over the past few days asking about our recently posted information on the use of LZW technology on Web sites. We hope to clear up any confusion.


This page announces only a simplified lower-cost option for obtaining certain Web site licenses which Unisys has been offering for several years. This new Web site licensing option creates a new, lower-cost, one-time license fee for those interested in obtaining an LZW license for their Billboard and Intranet Web sites. Unisys made this change in response to organizations wanting a simplified Web site licensing plan.


Many Web site operators use commercially available software which creates GIF images offline which are then posted on their Web sites. Since most of this commercially available software is under license from Unisys for their use of the LZW patent, users of this software are probably covered as well for this use of GIF images on their Web sites. Questions about the exact terms of the license for a particular software product should be addressed to the provider of the software.


The new one-time license fee is intended for those Web site operators who are concerned that they may not be covered by another license.

Because demand for LZW-related technology by Web developers continues to grow, Unisys wants to make obtaining a license for Web-based use of the LZW technology as easy and as straightforward as possible. Unisys therefore announces a new way for operators of certain types of Web sites to obtain an LZW license.


If you are the operator of an Intranet Web site or an Internet Billboard Web site (see detailed definitions -- in English or Japanese) and use the types of images covered by the LZW patent, you qualify.



Types of images covered
GIF, TIFF-LZW, PDF-LZW images or other LZW graphical formats used in connection with the creation, operation or maintenance of a Web site.



Why is Unisys taking this step?
Use of the World Wide Web has grown faster than almost any other technology in history – and faster than anyone anticipated even five years ago, when online service providers mostly handled simple electronic messaging. Organizations around the world are making a significant investment in their Web presence. Many use GIF images and other technology derived from the LZW (Lempel Ziv Welch) data compression/decompression technology developed and patented by Unisys Corporation over 10 years ago. Nearly 2,000 companies and governmental agencies, both large and small, have already taken licenses under the Unisys LZW patent.

Some operators of Intranet and Billboard Web sites have had difficulty determining whether they need a license from Unisys for use of our LZW patented technology. If you use any of the types of images specified above on your Web site that you received from an unlicensed software developer or service, you should have a license from Unisys to use the LZW patent. Or even if the developer or service provider has a license, but it doesn’t cover your use of the particular application you received, you should have a license from Unisys to use the LZW patent.



How do you get an Intranet or Billboard Web site license?
A one-time payment of $5,000.00 U.S. for each license agreement (limited to two servers at each licensed Web site). Or a single payment of $7,500 U.S. for a license for both Billboard and Intranet. Copies of one or both of these license agreements may be obtained by contacting Unisys Corporation, Welch Licensing Department – M/S E8-114, Unisys Way, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19424, fax: 215-986-3090, e-mail: LZW_INFO@unisys.com, or telephone: 215-986-5693.



Why should you get an LZW Web site license?
You’ll be able to deal with any vendors, developers, services or Webmasters whether they have an LZW license agreement from Unisys or not. You won’t have to go to the trouble of verifying that each vendor is licensed by Unisys.