From: Philippe Verdy (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Feb 19 2007 - 15:57:32 CST
> De : Doug Ewell [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> 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.
> '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
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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