RE: BOCU-1 spec

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Feb 19 2007 - 15:57:32 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: BOCU-1 spec"

    > De : Doug Ewell []
    > Envoyé : lundi 19 février 2007 21:43
    > À : Unicode Mailing List
    > Cc : Philippe Verdy; Asmus Freytag; Frank Ellermann
    > Objet : Re: BOCU-1 spec
    > Philippe Verdy <verdy underscore p at wanadoo dot fr> wrote:
    > > So non-discrimination of licence grants is not the only issue ;
    > > there's also the risk of future claims to continue to use a patent
    > > that was initially licenced for free. We've seen much enough companies
    > > pushing others to adopt their standard with initial adoption plans
    > > without even saying what would be the future fees claims for those
    > > patents, and that suddenly come back years later to claim millions of
    > > dollars to the adopters. As this risk can't be eliminated, this also
    > > prevents the smallest organizations to adopt those standards, because
    > > they could not support the risk of future claims.
    > GIF.
    > 'Nuff said.

    What does this "GIF nuff" mean?

    Are you talking about the past issue with the GIF format (closed now that
    patents have expired), or the past attempt to require licensing on the JPEG
    format based on patent claims that were proven to be invalid (also closed
    now due to expiration of claimed patents)?
    Such risk has been demonstrated, and has even succeeded in courts in the
    past, and this is why we need better legal protection in standards.

    Well, for now, all standards can still be challenged by patent claims
    despite they require now that proposers reveal the entire applicable patents
    they know. There's a "grace" period during which the standard should be
    published with provisional restrictions, so that the standard becomes
    "definitive" only after a reasonable time to let foreign patent claims to be

    But all standards that get the international approval (especially those
    reaching the level of ISO standards) should completely void further claims
    after this period, because those patent holders will have had enough time to
    inspect the standard and claim their right in time. To make this possible,
    the complete text of the standard must be accessible to everyone without
    restriction, including during the "grace" period. Then there's no excuse for
    patent holders if they have not exercised their right in this period.

    Such condition should be clear when organizations provide patents to IPR
    holders: it's the responsibility of the patent holder to exercise their
    right in due time if it becomes used in an international standard approved
    by ISO or by the relevant national standard body associated to the national
    patent bureau.

    Regarding BOCU and BOCU-1, IBM has correctly revealed to Unicode the patent
    claims they did, but IBM also provided a valid licence to the ICU project
    which is placed under the X licence which allows all modifications; so
    instead of using the specification published by Unicode, it's enough to use
    the publication made in the ICU project instead, and so the patent issue is
    immediately closed: you can use both the full BOCU specification and its
    limited BOCU-1 profile in any project which complies with the X licence
    requirement (notably, it just requires attribution in the copyright notice,
    but no further explicit license agreement by IBM, as the license is granted
    by the free and open-source ICU license).

    If Unicode wants to remove the license agreement, all that it needs then, is
    to replace the licence grant it got from IBM, by the ICU license and its
    required attribution notice...

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