"Breaking news" on NOOOXML.org



Apparently the lack of IPR issues around Open XML (Oliver and Jason have recent coverage of this non-issue) has forced NOOOXML.org to reach way down into their bag of tricks and try to resuscitate a long-forgotten story. I noticed the above breaking news item (“ISO warned about possible patent ambush on OOXML”) this afternoon on NOOOXML.org, but after taking the time to read the post and follow the links (5 minutes I can never get back, sadly), I found that the Cnet article upon which this story is based was published in October 2005.


The folks over at NOOOXML.org recently chastised me for not subscribing to their RSS feed, which they claimed was giving me poor “reaction time.” After seeing today’s top story on NOOOXML.org, I realized they’re employing a sophisticated multi-stage strategy, which I was too naive to see coming: they’ve duped me into subscribing, and now they’re feeding me really old news so that I’ll become less informed by reading their blog. They’re sacrificing the timeliness of their blog just to mislead me. 🙂


I’m deeply honored, guys. Keep up the good work.


Comments (8)

  1. Oliver says:

    I look at that site from time to time, this week the editors seem to be upset that Microsoft is working with people around the world on getting OpenXML right, listening to concerns and collaborating on resolving them.

    I wonder if they ever donated that 2500 euros to the Peruvian Earthquake Fund as they promised they would? Maybe the receipt is posted somewhere.

  2. I find it funny that the patents in question should only apply only to OOXML and not ODF. I also wonder why this did not surface when ODF was rushed through ISO. The ISO-certification of ODF was supposedly an example of how pure, correct and decent any ISO-process could dream of being, so one would think, that the very thorough, highly qualified and really, really perfect process would have ensured that all stones were turned and all problems fixed.

    After all, noone voted against ODF in ISO …

    /Jesper

  3. Doug Mahugh says:

    Funny indeed.  If they send that same letter out for every XML-based standard, they’re going to be busy!

  4. Rick Jelliffe says:

    IS 8879:1986 SGML came out 22 years ago, but itself was based on maybe 15 years of prior art, notably IBM’s GML.

    W3C XML is a strict  profile (subset) of XML. A patent for any general publishing uses of XML is junk.

  5. orcad says:

    Any software patent is junk. But Microsoft believes that you need those in order to promote what they call "innovation". Bullshit.

  6. 1049 says:

    Doug, we like your Youtube videos!

    Matusow’s recent posting was insightful. Honestly, do you believe that Open XML patent licensing is EU IDABC EIF open standards compliant? ECMA’s standard licensing requirements are not.

  7. Andre says:

    " If they send that same letter out for every XML-based standard, they’re going to be busy!"

    "W3C XML is a strict  profile (subset) of XML. A patent for any general publishing uses of XML is junk."

    You don’t get it Doug and Rick, it doesn’t matter if the patent is valid or not. As a business Microsoft would be safe to ignore the attacks but the ISO process has no defense against patents. Once ISO is made aware of it the trouble starts, see ISO/IEC Directive 2.14. Software patents are evil. Software patents on standards are utter crap. The ISO/IEC process is generally patent-agnostic but patents break the process.

    Directive 2.14 == Any party can throw the flame and let the patent trolls burn your standard. Someone triggered a process which is very dangerous for the standard. Even the opponents of the ISO standardization of the format are reluctant to use the nuke option against the specification.

    They don’t need to sent out a letter, anyone can do. If it happens then there is much trouble ahead.

    "any party not participating in Technical Bodies may draw the attention of the Organizations to any known Patent, either their own and/or of any third-party."

    "2.14.1 If, in exceptional situations, technical reasons justify such a step, there is no

    objection in principle to preparing an International Standard in terms which include the use of

    items covered by patent rights – defined as patents, utility models and other statutory rights

    based on inventions, including any published applications for any of the foregoing – even if

    the terms of the standard are such that there are no alternative means of compliance. The

    rules given below and in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, 2001, Annex H shall be applied.

    2.14.2 If technical reasons justify the preparation of a document in terms which include the

    use of items covered by patent rights, the following procedures shall be complied with.

    a) The originator of a proposal for a document shall draw the attention of the committee to

    any patent rights of which the originator is aware and considers to cover any item of the

    proposal. Any party involved in the preparation of a document shall draw the attention of

    the committee to any patent rights of which it becomes aware during any stage in the

    development of the document.

    b) If the proposal is accepted on technical grounds, the originator shall ask any holder of

    such identified patent rights for a statement that the holder would be willing to negotiate

    worldwide licences under his rights with applicants throughout the world on reasonable

    and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. Such negotiations are left to the parties

    concerned and are performed outside ISO and/or IEC. A record of the right holder’s

    statement shall be placed in the registry of the ISO Central Secretariat or IEC Central

    Office as appropriate, and shall be referred to in the introduction to the relevant document

    [see ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, 2001, H.3]. If the right holder does not provide such a

    statement, the committee concerned shall not proceed with inclusion of an item covered

    by a patent right in the document without authorization from ISO Council or IEC Council

    as appropriate.

    c) A document shall not be published until the statements of the holders of all identified

    patent rights have been received, unless the Council concerned gives authorization.

    2.14.3 Should it be revealed after publication of a document that licences under patent

    rights, which appear to cover items included in the document, cannot be obtained under

    reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions, the document shall be referred back

    to the relevant committee for further consideration."

    * What if the patent holder does not respond? (prior art  for this procedural ISO problem exists)

    * What if the patent holder refuses RAND terms? (costly negotiations)

    * What if you get RAND terms? (financial drain for Microsoft as the main user of the standard, incompatibility with public policy RF requirements as e.g. in Europe, no possibility to fight a patent in court when you agree to license it).

    It is like bio weapons in the hands of minors. The problem need to get solved in the next ISO procedural reform round.

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