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RE: XPointer and the '729 patent

This is a very good start to the resolution of these issues.

1.  I suggest that the time for the submission is too limited 
for reasonable replies as each party may wish to make their 
own internal examinations of submissions to ensure the materials 
do not expose proprietary information or otherwise violate 
organizational policy.

2.  The examination of submitted materials should not 
be conducted by Sun, but by a mutually acceptable third 
party capable of determining if:

a)  The prior art is relevant to the context of the 

b)  Sufficient grounds exist to submit the results as 
relevant to the patent claim

Such examining party may be composed of representatives of the 
concerned parties and the results adjudicated if necessary 
by an agreed upon authority.

Sun should reconsider the terms of the offer quoted herein and 
broaden them to enable mutual satisfaction for all parties.

I am speaking here as an individual and in no manner 
representing the concerned parties to these issues.

Len Bullard

-----Original Message-----
From: Eve L. Maler [mailto:eve.maler@east.sun.com]
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2001 11:48 AM
To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Cc: 729-patent@east.sun.com; Janet Daly
Subject: XPointer and the '729 patent

On 6 December 2000, Sun Microsystems published on the XML Linking
comments list[1] a proposed set of terms and conditions under which Sun
has agreed to grant certain rights to a patent it owns to developers
implementing XPointer 1.0[2], U.S. Patent No. 5,659,729 (the "'729
Patent"). We have received some comments on the circumstances
surrounding the patent and the terms, and we wanted to take this
opportunity to respond.

Sun has never made any claim that an implementation of XPointer
infringed on the '729 Patent. In fact, Sun's then-AC representative to
W3C was not even aware of the patent until W3C notified him in November
1997 of its existence.

About a year later, W3C requested that Sun take action with regard to
the '729 Patent to make it available to developers implementing
XPointer. We presume W3C felt that it would be preferable for Sun to
grant rights in advance to avoid potential issues at a later date.

Our goal in granting rights to the '729 Patent has been to ensure that
everyone has the ability to implement XPointer without being subject to
burdensome legal restrictions or royalty payments. We have been working,
and continue to work, with W3C in order to develop terms and conditions
that eliminate encumbrances for all developers.

We believe that Sun's approach to the issue avoids costly and time-
consuming legal wrangling that would certainly be involved in
determining whether the '729 Patent is valid and/or infringed.  At the
same time, it provides assurance to the development community that Sun
will not assert the '729 Patent against implementations of XPointer
under the terms.

After reviewing and considering the comments that have been submitted
since the time of the posting, we offer to do the following:

1 Request a reexamination of the '729 Patent at our own expense.

   As part of the reexamination, we request that you provide us with
   any prior art of which you are aware so that Sun may submit any
   relevant prior art to the U.S. Patent Office.

2 Consider specific requests for changes to the terms.

   In order to accommodate the concerns of the development community,
   we are willing to consider alternative terms.  We have already
   received some comments along these lines, and additional comments
   are welcome.

Information on BOTH prior art and suggested changes to the terms should
be sent to Sun by 7 MARCH 2001 at mailto:729-patent@east.sun.com.

We are hopeful that this explanation addresses the concerns voiced to
date, and look forward to seeing your additional comments.

           Eve Maler
           Sun representative to W3C's Advisory Committee

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/xptr
Eve Maler                                          +1 781 442 3190
Sun Microsystems XML Technology Center    eve.maler @ east.sun.com

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