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RE: (Second) Last Call for XPointer 1.0

  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@i...>
  • To: Daniel.Veillard@i...
  • Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 10:49:41 -0600

RE: (Second) Last Call for XPointer 1.0
You are right as far as I know that someone has 
to contest the patent.  I just found it odd that as
was asserted, the W3C issues a spec contingent on 
some license agreement if a member shows the 
patent.  I may not understand what the W3C action 
is here.  There is certainly prior art and I believe 
it possible to force Sun to acknowledge that given 
that it had access to published materials even if 
it cannot be proven they indeed accessed them. 

I do remember some sort of mail asking about this 
issue before and responding that checking the 
US Army and Unisys work would show that Unisys 
applied the technique early in the nineties, well 
before the Sun patent.  Since Eve was a member of 
the SGML community at that time, she should have 
been aware of such work and made that known to 
Sun's attorneys.  If not in either case, still no 
difference.  The work exists and was publicized.

Frankly, it may be a case as Trafford says where 
the industry ignores the patent rather than going 
to the trouble and expense of contesting it. The 
W3C may not be able to ignore it.  The result is 
the same:  XPointer is DOA.

The next problem would be, can everyone live with 
ignoring XPointer or Sun or both?

I guess I am mystified that something this basic 
could have been allowed for so long.  Why has the 
W3C not made more trouble for Sun on this one?  It 
isn't a resource issue as the same resource (the 
Internet community) is available to them when 
they need help on a fundamental such as this one. 
We haven't run out of torches and pitchforks out 
here although we don't like to burn down yet another 
windmill just to get rid of some mad scientist's 
egoMonster hiding inside.

I have a friend in the patent office.  He tells me 
the same thing:  no resources, too much complexity, 
not enough smarts on the subject matter, so they have 
adopted a policy of "issue and see who hollers" sort 
of like the "release and let the customer test" policy 
of software companies.  We can't beat them up too 
badly for the same "devil takes the hindmost" tactic.


Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel Veillard [mailto:Daniel.Veillard@i...]

  I will just note that exhibiting prior art is not sufficient.
You also need some legal action to take place before getting a
patent removed, right ? (I would be soooo happy if I was wrong !)

  If you think that the "homework" is just to collect prior,
then it's probably something which could be done within W3C
(directly by the staff or by a public call for prior art). 
But the legal action is where the problem might get solved
and is an expensive (money, time, human, ...) process. I don't
think W3C has enough resources (money, time, human, ...) to
follow this path. And who else would take this task ?

  It's now notorious that the Patent Office doesn't do
it's homework, who else should consider its homework to
invest in costly battles for getting this fixed a posteriori ?


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