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Re: Geoworks and their patent

  • From: "Thomas B. Passin" <tpassin@i...>
  • To: <xml-dev@i...>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 16:24:04 -0500

Re: Geoworks and their patent
Didier PH Martin  write:
> After reading the patent I may be wrong, but a possible interpretation is
> that any HTML browser which is platform independent would fall under this
> patent not only WML browsers. Maybe they didn't picked HTML browsers as
> target because people wouldn't take them seriously when they are talking
> about royalties but to say WAP and WML, something new, this seems a better
> pray :-) and it works, they stock value increased.

I don't think there is any way the patent can apply to HTML or XML in
general.  It relates specifically to user interface elements that are
specified and implemented an a particular way, with the help of a "toolbox".
I can imagine that it might apply to specific browser elements that the user
interacts with, though.  I'm thinking of form elements.  But you'd have to
read the patent very closely and have a patent lawyer handy to have a hope
of understanding what the patent means in both a technical way and in a
legal way.

Is this a rerun of the GIF situation?  The Geoworks patent seems more
substantial to me, because it claims to apply to a whole design approach.

What about those projects that specify the user interface using XML - some
Linux x-windows programs are using  them, for example - could these be
vulnerable the Geoworks claims?

A patent lawyer might be able to find a way to re-partition the design
appraoch to avoid the literal requirements of the patent.

Tom Passin

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