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RE: [xml-dev] Let's get real on W3C XForms 1.0 (why it stinks, to day)

On Fri, 5 Oct 2001, Champion, Mike wrote:

> Don Park [mailto:donpark@docuverse.com]
> > I am not touching XForms or anything with W3C written on it
> > until I get some assurance from W3C that their stuff
> > are either patent-free or uses
> > free-patents.
> This brings up another point: what's the state of the  patent issue with
> respect to XFORMS http://www.xmlhack.com/read.php?item=1035 ?  I'd agree
> that XFORMS will have limited appeal if there is a patent claim hanging over
> it.
> The W3C can never give the assurance that a member company won't try to
> claim a patent on a W3C-Recommended spec.  Even if Don became Lord High
> Dictator of the W3C tomorrow, they couldn't give that assurance <grin>.  We
> can argue all we want about what the W3C patent policy should be, but the
> W3C doesn't make or interpret or enforce the patent laws.

Yes, actually, they can. Contract law. You can write nearly anything as a
contract. In a non-legal nutshell:

"We, MegaCorp X, as a condition of membership in w3C, agree that we will
make W3C aware in a timely fashion of any existing or pending patent we
hold that a proposed w3C specification may infringe apon. Failure to
provide said notice automatically invokes a free and irrevokable licensing
of the relevant patent for use with the specification. Failure on our part
to recognize the impingment does not invalidate this clause. _Willful_
failure to make known an impinging patent shall cause the specific patent
to be placed in the public domain and terminate all IP rights by MegaCorp
X to the patented item. We recognize that it is MegaCorp X's
responsibility to identify any patents that MegaCorp X holds that may

Draconian, sure. But it does the right thing by shifting the burden from
everyone else in the world to find out that concept Y has been patented
to the holder of the patent to _make known_ that they hold a patent on Y.

Benjamin Franz

 "Code as if whoever maintains your code is a violent
  psychopath who knows where you live."
                    -- Nancy Lebovitz, the button lady