A lawsuit has begun attempting to nullify the patent on JPEG image compression technology has begun.

IBM, HP, Apple, Canon, Eastman Kodak, Xerox and 16 other companies are suing Forgent Networks and Motorola's General Instruments in an attempt to invalidate the patent.

The litigants state that Forgent's Compression Labs and General Instruments were wrongly attempting to enforce their patent. The suit says the patent is "unenforceable", reports the LA Times.

They are "attempting unlawfully to subvert the JPEG standard and to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in unwarranted profits" the litigants allege, according to the report.

The Joint Photographic Experts Group's JPEG format is used for the compression and storage of digital images.