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[DotGNU]eWeek: Web Patents Still Not a Good Idea

From: Seth Johnson
Subject: [DotGNU]eWeek: Web Patents Still Not a Good Idea
Date: Sat, 08 Jun 2002 02:03:12 -0400

(Old news, but still pertinent.  -- Seth),3658,s=1864&a=26103,00.asp

Web Patents: Still Not a Good Idea

April 29, 2002 

We've argued before that critical web infrastructure needs
to come without a patent-royalty price tag attached. 

That battle was fought and won in the World Wide Web
Consortium last year: The latest draft of the W3C patent
policy, dated Feb. 26, 2002, states that the "W3C will not
approve a Recommendation if it is aware that Essential
Claims exist which are not available on Royalty-Free terms."

However, a number of key Web standards developers, most
notably IBM and Microsoft, have now shifted some Web
services standards development work away from the
royalty-free W3C into new organizations that just happen to
allow RAND (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) patent

For example, the UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and
Integration) 2.0 registry standard, edited by IBM and
Microsoft, states needed patent rights will be
RAND-licensed, not royalty-free.

Although the site states, "The oversight and
leadership of UDDI will be turned over to a standards body
in 2001 after the base technology is developed with wide
industry support," it's now 2002, UDDI 3.0 is in active
development and no signs of the fist loosening are in

Moreover, on April 5, Microsoft, IBM and VeriSign released a
new set of extensions to SOAP (Simple Object Access
Protocol), the core Web services technology, to allow for
secure Web service requests. Given that SOAP currently has
no security features at all, the extensions in this
WS-Security (Web Services Security) proposal are essential
to all those interested in deploying Web services in

WS-Security 1.0 was released directly to the Web without the
blessing of any standards body, even a newly manufactured
one. It grants no intellectual property rights at all to
third parties on a RAND basis or otherwise.

A shift of development away from the W3C is not good for
anyone in the Internet community, and the recent end run
around the W3C by Microsoft and IBM must stop.

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