I am developing an application which will use Intel Quick Sync hardware encoder for H.264 encoding.
I will only be using the Quick Sync hardware encoder and not Quick Sync software encoder or any other software encoders. If Quick Sync hardware encoding is not available on the machine, the application will not work.
My question is: Do I have to pay H.264 patent license fees to MPEG LA for distributing this application or does Intel cover that for me?
But I don't actually have an encoder in my application, it just sends data to the Quick Sync hardware encoder embedded in the Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and Haswell processors. My users already paid for their computer hardware and I presume Intel has already paid required patent license fees to MPEG LA and other parties for distributing the hardware encoder in the first place.
In any case, unless I'm completely mistaken here, then my conclusion must be, that since my application does not contain or incorporate any encoder, then I should not have to pay any patent licensing fees to MPEG LA.
Intel has no blanket agreement with MPEG-LA like you describe. It will be best to take this discussion to them. We can help you to get your application working, but questions on distribution obligations are beyond what we can answer.
Did you ever get a definite answer on the h264 royalties? I am in a similar situation where we want to use Intel QSV H264 hardware encoder and am unsure if we will have to license or pay some royalties for the encoding.