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Re: RAND already being assumed for SVG

From: <mark@otford.kent.btinternet.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 12:09:08 +0100
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Cc: mark@otford.kent.btinternet.co.uk
Message-Id: <E15oNQC-0003KL-00@giskard.marknet>
>                      RAND already being assumed for SVG
>   From: Daniel Phillips (phillips@bonn-fries.net)
>   Date: Mon, Oct 01 2001
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>From: Daniel Phillips <phillips@bonn-fries.net>
>To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
>Date:   Tue, 2 Oct 2001 04:11:16 +0200
>Message-Id: <20011002021116Z16082-2757+2751@humbolt.nl.linux.org>
>Subject: RAND already being assumed for SVG
>This is a heads-up for everybody reading this list.  It appears that the SVG
>(Scalable Vector Graphics) working group is already conducting itself as if
>RAND were a fait accompli.  Here's an extract from a patent statement by the
>working group:
>   (http://www.w3.org/2001/07/SVG10-IPR-statements.html)
>    *  The majority of SVG working group members are providing a Royalty
>       Free license for SVG 1.0.
>    *  There are four organisations who offered a RAND license for SVG 1.0.
>       Examining each in detail:
>          * Kodak have publically stated that while they are unable to
>            provide a RF license for their existing IP, they believe that
>            they have no essential claims on the SVG 1.0 specification.
>            Furthermore, they participate in an open-source effort to
>            implement the complete SVG 1.0 specification.
>          * Apple informed the SVG 1.0 Working Group very early in the SVG
>            1.0 process of the patent they listed in their license statement.
>            The SVG Working Group made a concerted effort to produce a
>            specification that does not require implementors to infringe the
>            patent.
>          * The other two RAND licenses were from IBM and Quark, both of whom
>            have not announced any patents since the request for IP licenses
>            was issued (in May 2001).
>How do we interpret this?  Apple, for example, appears to be prepared
>to collect a toll on SVG according to this criterion:  "Existence of a
>non-infringing alternative shall be judged based on the state-of-the-art at
>the time the specification becomes a Recommendation."  I interpret that to
>mean  Apple will sit in the woods until the specification has been
>essentially finalized, then announce their claims on it.  This sounds
>somewhat less than forthcoming.
>I have to ask: do people know that SVG is encumbered?  Do we need SVG if it's
>encumbered?  Just what exactly does the W3C think it's doing?
I think the W3C has got itself into a nasty corner and is struggling to find
a way out of it.  It is _clearly_ unacceptable to have companies wait until
a work is finished and then claim they owned it all along.  I think that
the W3C should be looking for a formal statement from every employer that
any delegate working on or proposing text (or whatever) for any W3C standard
should produce a legally binding written commitment that there will be *no*
patent claim associated with that work.

Any organisation which cannot do this should be restrained from making
any submission.

This does open a second can of worms, which is how to prove that the 
submission from eg., Apple doesn't in fact contain some of Kodak's patented
work, but I would have thought a properly worded statement as above should
cover this issue.

I wonder if the SVG proposed standard should be either abandoned or at
least completely re-worked to avoid any encumbrances.  RF standards are
the only ones which work in practice.

Mark K.

Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 13:01:11 UTC

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