W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > October 2001

Re: Is Apple's patent valid?

From: Glenn Randers-Pehrson <glennrp@home.com>
Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001 09:53:33 -0400
Message-Id: <3.0.6.32.20011004095333.00d1e770@netmail.home.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Chris Lilley wrote:

>Thats not true.  The SVG patents page gives eleven companies who were
>members of the SVG working group in good standing at the time we tested
>out the PPF, towards the end of the SVG 1.0 timeframe. Of those, seven
>gave RF licensing. Two gave RAND but identified no patents. Two gave
>RAND and identified patents. Of those, one made a statement that the
>patent was not essential and one (Apple) made no statement.
>
>Can you explain how this allows "most" to "renage" on RF licensing to
>the world at large?

Actually my statement applies to "most" of the license statements that
I am allowed to read.  Not having paid $15,000 for a 3-year associate
membership (or even being allowed to, as an individual), I can only read
those few that are included in the IPR document that's linked from the
SVG spec.

Of these, Adobe and Canon both condition their offer of RF licensing to
anyone on RF licensing by all other W3C members.  CSIRI conditions
theirs on a reciprocal license from the implementor.  Bitflash doesn't
mention any extra conditions.  "Most" is two out of four (I had missed
the short Bitflash statement before and thought it was two out of three).

>I make that distinction because, if Apple were to sue any of the
>companies who gave a RF license, Apple would be breaking the RF license
>contract with that company and those companies would be able to
>counter-sue Apple for any patents that they might have. But Apple has
>not done that so i don't see how anyone is enabled to renage on RF
>licensing.

I don't see how a suit by Apple would be required.  It is a plain fact
that Apple did not offer the RF license, which seems to be all that is
needed by Adobe and Canon to retract their RF licensing.

>> Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I have only read the abstract of
>> Apple's patent

I am still not a lawyer, but I have now read the full text of Apple's
patent.  Although their claims seem to be claiming alpha composition
in general, they do mention prior art in alpha composition, and somewhere
in the middle of the document it gives an example of using separate alpha
masks for each color channel.

I think NetPBM's "pnmarith" could be considered prior art; at any rate
it appears to be able to do such compositions in combination with pnmcomp,
and channel-by-channel composition might be one of its most useful
applications.

We should look for prior art in the prepress field in addition to the
computer graphics field.

Glenn
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2001 09:56:22 GMT

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