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Re: (Second) Last Call for XPointer 1.0

At 09:35 AM 1/9/01 -0500, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:
>There's a much more significant issue raised in this draft for the
>first time than the question of how to map namespace prefixes. It's
>also come to light in this draft that Sun claims a patent on some of
>the technologies needed to implement XPointer.
>I think this is particularly offensive because Eve L. Maler, a Sun
>employee, serves as co-chair of the XML Linking Working Group and a
>co-editor of the XPointer specification.

Without commenting on the merits of the patent claim as it applies to 
XPointer -- and taking a neutral stance on anyone's prior knowledge of the 
patent in question, it is exceedingly difficult for WG members and AC Reps 
from large companies with even larger intellectual property inventories to 
participate in the standards process and be fully aware, one way or the 
other, of whether their company has any IP that needs to be disclosed. 
There are requirements for disclosure in various steps in the process, Eve 
may have not been aware of them at the beginning, and disclosed as 
appropriate later.

That said, a resolution to a patent claim that requires modifications to be 
given to the W3C seems improbable, if not impossible to enforce (who would? 
Sun? W3C?).

If the W3C membership doesn't like this stipulation, it can recommend that 
the draft not advance to Recommendation until a better alternative is found.

I'd not be surprised to see a request for prior art to go out, and if 
anyone here feels strongly that there is, then communicating it along the 
proper channels (Daniel Weisner as mentioned in the quoted URL is a good 
start) would be great.

My rather long-winded point is essentially not to hold Eve completely 
responsible for the situation; she's in an incredibly difficult position, 
both before and after awareness and disclosure of the patent claim.


Ann Navarro, Author and Chief Geek
WebGeek, Inc. http://www.webgeek.com
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