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RE: XPointer and the '729 patent

Or even earlier and more specific, the 
US Army IADS and Unisys IDE/AS docs. 
(See Richard Grambly at USAMICOM.)

But a simple clarification as you are 
suggesting won't stop this, Tim.  The patent 
is bogus.  That makes enabling it to 
continue unchallenged a very bad precedent. 
Just as one man's intertwining is another 
man's consistency, one company's patent 
is another company's FUD.  There is no 
minimal victory here.  All or nothing.

It has to stop.  Stop it here while 
you have a company willing to set 
the right example.

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Bray [mailto:tbray@textuality.com]
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2001 3:38 PM
To: Eve L. Maler; xml-dev@lists.xml.org
Cc: 729-patent@east.sun.com; Janet Daly
Subject: Re: XPointer and the '729 patent

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[1] 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
 silly paperwork>.

Seems to me this makes the problem go away and doesn't let even
the most obstructionist and paranoid legal department create FUD
over '729. 


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