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   WSIO goes RAND

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From the smoke-filled rooms department:

According to IBM's Sutor and Microsoft's .Net Platforms Strategy group
director Neil Charney, both of whom led the WS-I's formation, the WS-I
is strictly to guarantee the interoperability of Web services, not
creating standards. "That work," according to Charney, "needs to take
place in the working groups of the standards-setting bodies of the W3C."

The co-chairperson of WS-I's board of directors, Norbert Mikula, agreed,
saying "the intent of the WS-I is not to produce specifications. The
intent is to promote clear definitions for how standard specifications
should be applied so as to eliminate any potential problems with
interoperability across platforms, languages, and applications." Mikula
added "those definitions would be freely available."

To RAND or not to RAND
But according to a copy of the WS-I's IP release obtained by ZDNet, the
WS-I will indeed be producing specifications, contrary to what Mikula
says. The organization will allow the members who contributed to those
specs to charge royalties through a RAND-based licensing framework. The
document clearly defines a specification as "a technical description of
the protocols for the exchange of messages" or "the technical
description of the steps required to implement existing standards alone
or in combination with Specifications or existing standards in such a
way as to promote interoperability."

After reviewing the IP release agreement with ZDNet, Mikula offered
clarification of his earlier point, saying that "I believe that is
correct, that the IPR that will be licensed on a RAND basis." Mikula
added, "this does not mean that the specifications are in a locker. They
are freely available to look at. But if you decide to adopt them, the IP
will be licensed on a RAND basis."

Documentation of UDDI.org's specifications similarly includes RAND-based
language that makes it possible for patent holders to charge royalties
to those who implement or use UDDI: "If the Licensors own any patents or
patent applications which may be required for implementing and using the
specifications contained in the document in products that comply with
the specifications, upon written request, a non-exclusive license under
such patents shall be granted on reasonable and non-discriminatory

Just thought this was worth knowing about.

Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!


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