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   RE: The next wave: patent your DTDs

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  • From: Toby <tbrown@utahbar.org>
  • To: xml-dev <xml-dev@xml.org>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:57:45 -0700

You might want to check out Legal XML at www.legalxml.org for an example of
protecting the IP of XML efforts.

We organized this project such that DTD's and schemas produced fall under
'general public license' or what is being referred to as "CopyLeft."  We had
much debate on the issue before settling on this approach.  It seems to be
working well, although we are just about to release our first DTD.  We've
had some participants raise issues with this approach, but it seems to
satisfy the needs of both government and for-profit players.

The result is a standard that's actually available for all to use.

Toby Brown
Utah State Bar/iLumin

Tim Bray wrote:
> I'm making an effort to let my amusement over the profound silliness of
> patenting a DTD counteract my disgust at the business climate that makes
> this kind of behavior thinkable. 

This surprises you?  Despite the notion that copyrights may be 
more appropriate, shouldn't they be able to protect their IP?
Patenting seems a little expensive for this.

The fact that unless two entities share a common definition 
makes the DTD nothing more than a design document 
doesn't say much for their plan to reuse it or sell it.
Dumb and dumber.  We went through this problem with GE 
as early as 1989 when they and/or the Navy wanted IP 
protection for the DTDs we wrote then.

The auto industry has a copyright on their DTD and they used it. 
In many relational db businesses, copyrighting the schema 
is assumed and distributing it to customers comes with 
the usual warnings about redistribution.  Almost anything 
from the W3C comes with a copyright and I suspect, so 
will anything from OASIS.  

As for the business climate, as the twig is bent....


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