RE: W3C Objects To Royalties On ISO Country Codes

From: Hohberger, Clive (
Date: Sun Sep 21 2003 - 12:12:54 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "W3C Objects To Royalties On ISO Country Codes"

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Carl W. Brown []
    Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2003 9:07 AM
    Subject: RE: W3C Objects To Royalties On ISO Country Codes


    > >"Tim Berners-Lee has sent a letter of concern to the president of
    > >ISO about the idea of collecting royalties on...guess what... ISO
    > >language and country codes! According to the letter, the ISO
    > >Commercial Policies Steering Group is proposing a royalty on
    > >commercial use of ISO language, country and currency codes. The
    > >whole idea seems absurd. On what grounds could uttering lang="en-US"
    > >be subject to any intellectual property right that justified any
    > >royalty demand?"
    > Good question.

    It would seem to me that if W3C purchases the ISO standard that under the
    terms of the license they can use them in any manner that they see fit. ISO
    can not extend the terms of the license after the fact to include royalties
    on clients. If they extend the terms of the license then we should stop
    using the new ISO standard and use the old codes to set up a W3C standard.

    I don't think that the courts will uphold that ISO has the rights to go
    after every web page developer for royalties and that the W3C has the right
    to expect that either ISO maintains is current policies or that the W3C has
    the right to develop a compatible standard using the old codes.

    It would be like the Unicode Consortium deciding to start charging for using
    the standard.


    Carl & Michael,
    First, I didn't know that a public domain standard could be purchased by a
    private organization.

    Also, the developers of the standard had to specify and intellectual
    property (IP) that they owned that was relevant to the and either give up
    rights to it for use in the standard or make available fair and equitable
    license of that IP to anyone requesting it for purpose of using that ISO
    standard. I don't know that that process gives ISO a right to sell or
    sublicense those IP rights.

    The only intellectual property right created by the ISO standard that I know
    of is copyright (c) of the complete standard itself, which is owned by ISO
    and gives them the right to sell and distribute the standard to raise
    revenue. ISO has licensed certain national agencies like ANSI and companies
    like Global Engineering Documents to sell them on ISO's behalf, with a fee
    paid to ISO.

    Can someone please explain to me what the ISO Commercial Policies Steering
    Group is, and what it is empowered to do?
    21 Sep 2003

    Clive P Hohberger, PhD
    Corporate VP, Technology Development
       & Director of Patent Affairs
    Office: +1 847 793 2740
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