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Re: Place under sun (was: XPointer and Sun patent)

  • From: Alexey Gokhberg <alexei@b...>
  • To: xml-dev@x...
  • Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 01:34:11 +0100

place under sun

James Clark wrote:
> I think you are mistaken.  The facts are:
> 1. The JDK 1.1 specification describes a process to generate a string
> from
> - a floating point number,
> - a format string, and
> - a collection of named parameters
> 2. The XSLT Rec requires you to implement this process.
> 3. The JDK 1.1 specification is copyrighted by Sun.
> However, implementing a process described by a copyrighted document does
> not require the permission of the copyright holder. That's what patents
> are all about: if the JDK number formatting was patented, there would be
> a problem. You would only violate Sun's copyright if you copied the
> specification.

The "Copyright Page for Sun Microsystems, Inc." for JDK 1.1 states that
SUN grants, "under SUN's intellectual property rights", "the license ...
to practice this specification". However, the license "is limited to the
creation ... of ... implementations of this specification that (i)
include a complete implementation of the current version of this
specification ..."

I beleive, that if someone implements XSLT processor and claims the full
conformance to XSLT 1.0, she automatically admits that the relevant
portions of JDK 1.1 were used. This might mean that the implementor DOES
PRACTICE the JDK 1.1 specification. Clearly, such form of PRACTICE is
not covered by the license cited above, and it might happen, that
implementor of XSLT did something not permitted by the owner of the
intellectual property.

What means "to practice a specification"? Is it allowed to implement a
portion of a specification if the owner of that specification explicitly
disallows this?

I don't know. To get the answer I must ask a lawer, and I will probably
need a very good lawer to get an answer, and I will be not surprised if
even the good lawer will not be able to give the exact answer. And, by
the way, good lawers are very expensive - why should I spend my money to
solve this artificially created problem?

Too much troubles around a very simple issue. Would not it better just
to place all relevant descriptions in the recommendation itself,
avoiding potentially dangerous references to the privately-owned

> Note that Microsoft has implemented format-number, which I doubt it
> would have done if its lawyers thought it needed permission from Sun to
> do so.

I am not convinced. First, Microsoft can afford legal battles which
would surely knock down a smaller company. Second, Microsoft might have
the appropriate argeement with SUN, covering the use of technologies
owned by SUN.

Kind regards,



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