Re: Proposing UTF-21/24

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Tue Jan 23 2007 - 08:26:33 CST

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    Mark Davis wrote:

    > Did you ever actually try to get a licence from IBM? While I too would
    > far rather have seen BOCU-1 be freely available, the language says
    > "IBM would like to offer a royalty free license to this patent upon
    > request to implementers of a fully compliant version of BOCU-1"; if
    > you'd been denied a license that would be surprising.

    I did not call or write to IBM to ask for a license. Not only is there
    the question that Asmus raised about proving full compliance (which I
    personally have no doubt about, but IBM might have a competitive reason
    to claim otherwise), but there is also the general principle of a
    character encoding being patented.

    There's also the possibility that IBM, having asserted IP rights, could
    change the terms of licensing and start charging royalties, or recall
    certain licenses that had previously been granted. This is not
    hypothetical or conspiracy-theory; it is exactly what happened with GIF.
    If IBM had freely given away the specification at the outset, as they
    did with UTF-EBCDIC, this loophole would not exist.

    We should be thankful that other elements of the Unicode Standard,
    besides the name "Unicode" itself, were not IP-encumbered, or the
    standard would have faced major -- perhaps insurmountable -- impediments
    to adoption.

    Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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