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RE: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Levantovsky, Vladimir <Vladimir.Levantovsky@MonotypeImaging.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 12:59:14 -0400
Message-ID: <E955AA200CF46842B46F49B0BBB83FF2924BCC@wil-email-01.agfamonotype.org>
To: "Patrick Garies" <pgaries@fastmail.us>
Cc: <www-style@w3.org>
On Wednesday, June 17, 2009 3:36 AM Patrick Garies wrote
> 
> Levantovsky, Vladimir wrote:
> >  Commercial font vendors DO want to be able to license their fonts
> for
> >  the web use. However, allowing raw TrueType and OpenType fonts be
> >  used with no protection whatsoever presents too much risk that font
> >  vendors and foundries are not willing to take. The problem can
> easily
> >  be solved by deploying a font wrapper like EOT that simply reduces
> >  the risk of font piracy.
> 
> Based on a comment in the Ascender proposal page:
> 
> Zack Weinberg wrote:
> >  From Mozilla's point of view, the use of patented technology in EOT
> >  is a show-stopper. We cannot make use of any technology which is
> >  (known to be) covered by (actively enforced) patents that are not
> >  licensed under terms compatible with the GPL. We have expressed this
> >  requirement to the EOT patent holders, but they refuse to publish
> >  even a proposal for license terms, saying only that /if/ the W3C
> >  adopts EOT as a standard, then they will issue a license compatible
> >  with the W3C's patent policy. Unfortunately, W3C-policy compliant
> >  patent licenses can still be incompatible with the GPL, so that's
> >  not good enough for us.
> 
> Zack Weinberg wrote:
> >  I don't speak for the entire company, nor even the team whose call
> >  it would be ultimately, but my understanding is that if the patent
> >  issue were resolved we would consider EOT support quite seriously.
> >  As long as the patent issue is live, though, we are not interested even
> >  in bothering to figure out whether we have any other objections.
> >  It's that much of a deal-breaker for us.
> 

I am afraid these statements are not entirely accurate. A number of Recommendations developed by W3C are known to be covered by existing patents, including CSS [1] that is implemented by Mozilla Firefox. One of the greatest values of W3C as an organization is that it developed and implemented a patent policy that all W3C members agree to abide by; and this patent policy guarantees royalty-free access to an IP that is needed to implement and use a technology described in a Recommendation. Evidently, a technology with known IP hasn't been a deal-breaker in the past if the submission of that technology was accompanied by a commitment to make the IP freely available for any implementer of a W3C Recommendation.

> According to the Ascender proposal itself, your company owns this
> patent:
> 
> >  The compression uses patented Agfa (now Monotype Imaging)
> technology.
> 
> Do y'all have any intention of addressing this problem?
> 

We have. In 2007, even prior to joining W3C, Monotype Imaging has made a commitment to license the technical specification and use of patents associated with it royalty-free, for worldwide use in implementations of the CSS Recommendation. As a member of W3C, we made the immutable commitment to offer licenses according to the W3C Royalty-Free licensing requirements for any portion of EOT submission [2] that is implemented in a W3C Recommendation.

For avoidance of any doubt, Monotype Imaging agrees not to exercise its rights to apply limitations known as a "field of use restriction" if our technology is implemented as a part of a W3C Recommendation, and we are willing to work with any interested party, whether a W3C member or not, to make our IP available on a RF basis for the purpose of developing and prototyping the implementations of a future W3C Recommendation.

Vladimir


[1] http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/Disclosures

[2] http://www.w3.org/Submission/2008/01/


> — Patrick Garies
Received on Thursday, 18 June 2009 16:59:49 GMT

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