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Re: XPointer and the '729 patent
- From: Tim Bray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: "Eve L. Maler" <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 13:37:57 -0800
At 12:48 PM 16/02/01 -0500, Eve L. Maler wrote:
>On 6 December 2000, Sun Microsystems published on the XML Linking
>comments list a proposed set of terms and conditions
This is excellent; thanks to Eve and Sun.
>1 Request a reexamination of the '729 Patent at our own expense.
This will require spending a lot of money with lawyers, after Sun
probably already spent a bunch earlier in getting this silly thing.
And if anyone wants to go after silly patents, it seems that '729
is hardly the worst.
I believe that there is a more cost-effective solution. However, if
there's a real desire to do this, I suspect that ample prior art
could be discovered in the initial release of the EBT Dynatext docs
or the "SoftQuad Explorer" docs.
>2 Consider specific requests for changes to the terms.
This is the right way to go. I have heard Sun people say that
they want the terms to help enforce conformance to the W3C
recommendations in the affected area, with the (worthy) goal of
deterring "embrace and extend" tactics. (Note however that Eve
doesn't list this among Sun's goals above). In any case, I think
it's basically futile to try to use whatever leverage may exist
in the '729 patent to do this. The main reason is that placing
any restrictions at all on the granting of the license to the patent,
without giving reasonably-paranoid legal departments excuses to paint
implementations as risky, would be really hard to get right.
So I suggest, once again, that Sun adopt a policy along the lines of:
Without prejudice as to whether implementation of any W3C
recommendations may infringe the '729 patent, Sun is willing to
grant an unrestricted unconditional no-cost license for use of the
'729 patent to any person or corporation. Should any person or
corporation require documentation of this license, Sun will
execute the appropriate document, provided at <url>, for an
administration charge of <a couple hundred dollars to discourage
Seems to me this makes the problem go away and doesn't let even
the most obstructionist and paranoid legal department create FUD