RE: [Fwd: W3C ridiculous new policy on patents]
> Is there any public discussion of SVG and IP issues? There was substantial discussion on the SVG developers list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/svg-developers/message/5471 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/svg-developers/message/5908 These and other threads from that time frame. An optimistic(?) summary from Chris Lilley (post 5471) had some explanation from his perspective: <quote> r_diblasi@h... wrote: > > W3C Team and community, > > In Status of this document there is a paragraph > discussing patents: > > http://www.w3.org/TR/SVG/#status > > <snip> > There are patent disclosures and license commitments associated with > the SVG 1.0 specification. These may be found on the SVG 1.0 Patent > Statements in conformance with W3C policy</snip> > > http://www.w3.org/2001/07/SVG10-IPR-statements.html > > Can anyone comment of how or if the patent disclosures and > license commitments may affect developer of products based > on this specification and any of the patent mentioned in this > SVG specification? > > This patent disclosure and license commitments paragraph > has never been in any of the SVG specifications ....until now That is correct. In fact, they have never been in W3C specs, until now. Well actually SMIL 2.0 had them when it went to Proposed rec, a few weeks before SVG did. There is a problem, that W3C pretty much ignored until recently, calle dsubmarine patents. Someone has a patent, and they sit on it ad watch people build dependencies on it, maybe even join a working group and encourage people to depend on this patent. Then, when the standard is final (or perhaps years later) , they produce this with a flourish and demand lots of money (perhaps retrospectively). So, W3C has been working on ways to deal with this problem. There is legal precedent, for example the celebrated Rambus case, and another one involving Dell, where a patent was withheld and then produced with the expectation of generating a lot of money, and the courts ruled that the non-disclosure of the patent was illegal and that no fees were to be paid *because there was an existing agreement for early disclosure of patents*. W3C is thus putting into place such a system of early disclosure of patents, to guard against precisely this sort of problem. All members of the SVG WG were asked to disclose patents which wrre 'essential technology' before SVG went to Proposd Rec. You (well, everyone) noticed there was a bit of a delay before SVG went to Proposed rec; now you know what we were doing. The W3C membership at large is similarly being asked about essential patents, before SVG becomes a REC. This is good news for developers. It means you are not going to get a submarine patent surface under you years down the line, as happened to some developers of GIF reading and writing software when Unisys suddenly started demanding royalties, retrospectively, on what people had assumed was unencumbered technology. Notice that in many cases, members of the SVG working group offered royalty fee licenses. This term has various meanings depending on who uses it. in W3C, it means a RAND (rasonable and non discriminatory) license which is non-fee-bearing. In other words, even if these companies have patents which are necessarily infringed by all SVG implementations, they are no going to charge any fees to anyone who does not come after *them*. Thus, any patents that those companies hold are irrelevant *if* you are implementing SVG, For doing anything else, well, talk to a lawyer we can't help you there but at least for SVG we can make the situation clear. This is intended to foster a good, open developer environment and to allow free software implementation of W3C specifications, which is a good thing, to continue. In some cases, members of the W3C SVG WG declared patents that *might* apply. For example Apple, very early on, declared a patent (basically to do with a system were there ids a separate alpha channel for each color chanel, so for RGB that wuld be R, G, B, Ar, Ag, Ab. The SVG WG, without either confirming or denying the validity of this patent claim, simply stepped around it and ensured that SVG did not infringe it. Kodak has a patent, similarly - you know those photo booths that take a picture of you and when it comes out, ther you are standing besides mickey mouse? well its a system of combining digital photographs at fixed positions in a background image with multiple copies and alpha channels.. and again, it doesn't look like an SVG implementation necessarily infringes this patent at all. So, thats what this is all about. Early disclosure of patents that *might* affect all SVG implementation, and upfront declaration of what the licensing terms would be (ideally, royalty free) and declaration of the actual patent numbers so that developers, and in particular open source developers who are more exposed because anyone can inspect the code, can check exactly what is claimed and either avoid it or decide it doesn't apply to SVG. This, I hope you will agree, is a lot better than some company five years down the road demanding back royalties on every copy of your free SVG software.... -- Chris </quote> Max http://www.siliconpublishing.com
PURCHASE STYLUS STUDIO ONLINE TODAY!
Purchasing Stylus Studio from our online shop is Easy, Secure and Value Priced!
Download The World's Best XML IDE!
Accelerate XML development with our award-winning XML IDE - Download a free trial today!
Subscribe in XML format