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Is there a patent on XML itself?

 
 
Grant Robertson
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      04-06-2007
In article <461648ff$1@kcnews01>, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) says...
> If you're serious about seeking legal protection, I ***STRONGLY***
> recommend you pay the money to hire a lawyer to advise you. Free legal
> advice found on the Internet is generally not worth more than you paid
> for it.


I know. If you recall, all I was originally asking was for a specific
fact which I could not find elsewhere. People felt the need to give me
their opinions, which led to discussions about opinions. Nothing more.
Besides, there is no law or precedent which dictates what strategy will
best promote a standard. It is all conjecture, trial, and error.
 
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Grant Robertson
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      04-06-2007
In article <ev56e0$2c9p$(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> Well, you might be able to trademark the name to prevent them from
> claiming that it's a version of it,


I do intend to trademark the name. And I have a really cool logo as well.
 
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Richard Tobin
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      04-06-2007
In article <461648ff$1@kcnews01>,
Joseph Kesselman <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>> Well, you might be able to trademark the name to prevent them from
>> claiming that it's a version of it


>Which is what Sun did with Java; they enforced that against Microsoft
>when the MS version diverged too strongly from the spec.


This works once the brand is sufficiently successful. Microsoft
could have diverged as much as they liked so long as they didn't
call it Java, but they evidently calculated that that wouldn't do
them any good.

-- Richard
--
"Consideration shall be given to the need for as many as 32 characters
in some alphabets" - X3.4, 1963.
 
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Richard Tobin
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      04-06-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Grant Robertson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>> Well, you might be able to trademark the name to prevent them from
>> claiming that it's a version of it, but I don't think you can - or
>> should be able to - stop people from writing software that implements
>> extensions to your standard.


>Then you would be indisagreement with the Open Source Initiative and most
>of the experts on the open standards field. Only by protecting a standard
>can it ever be a "standard" at all. Fragmentation is what killed UNIX.
>Linus Torvold's tight rein on what can be considered part of the kernal
>of Linux is what makes it successful.


I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Linus does not sure people
who extend the Linux kernel. His authority is (currently) sufficient
to limit fragmentation, but anyone who wants to produce a modified
version of Linux is free to do so. It's one thing to have the moral
authority to keep a standard intact, quite another to use legal means
to stop people trying.

And Unix obviously isn't dead, because Linux is an implementation of
it.

-- Richard
--
"Consideration shall be given to the need for as many as 32 characters
in some alphabets" - X3.4, 1963.
 
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Grant Robertson
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      04-07-2007
In article <ev6l81$2qir$(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> >Which is what Sun did with Java; they enforced that against Microsoft
> >when the MS version diverged too strongly from the spec.

>
> This works once the brand is sufficiently successful. Microsoft
> could have diverged as much as they liked so long as they didn't
> call it Java, but they evidently calculated that that wouldn't do
> them any good.


Ever heard of C#, pronounced "see sharp"? That is microsoft's attempt to
duplicate Java. Some idiots actually program in it.
 
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Richard Tobin
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      04-07-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Grant Robertson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>> >Which is what Sun did with Java; they enforced that against Microsoft
>> >when the MS version diverged too strongly from the spec.


>> This works once the brand is sufficiently successful. Microsoft
>> could have diverged as much as they liked so long as they didn't
>> call it Java, but they evidently calculated that that wouldn't do
>> them any good.


>Ever heard of C#, pronounced "see sharp"? That is microsoft's attempt to
>duplicate Java. Some idiots actually program in it.


I know about C#, but I'm afraid I have completely lost track of your
argument.

To go back to what I thought was the point: there are various legal
mechanisms you can use to discourage people from extending your
standard, and they may or may not work depending on things like
whether you have the respect of your user community, whether you have
built up a "brand", and so on. But I doubt you can find any purely
legal means to prevent people from doing so: I don't know of any cases
where that has been successful, and I don't think the law *should*
allow you to.

Java and C# are not an example of purely legal means preventing a
company from extending a standard; the trademark on Java meant that
Microsoft would have had to rename their variant, but it was the
strength of the Java brand that made that (apparently) impractical.

And in any case, we have yet to see this "standard". We don't even
know whether anyone will want to use it, let alone extend it.

-- Richard
--
"Consideration shall be given to the need for as many as 32 characters
in some alphabets" - X3.4, 1963.
 
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Grant Robertson
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      04-07-2007
In article <ev6ln8$2qir$(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Linus does not sue people
> who extend the Linux kernel. His authority is (currently) sufficient
> to limit fragmentation, but anyone who wants to produce a modified
> version of Linux is free to do so.



That's a good point. Since the kernel is under GPL2 I guess I could
modify it and fork it. Fortunately for him and Linux, he does that power
of moral authority. But Linux took a long while to take hold. The only
people who paid any attention were advocates who had just seen UNIX's
last breaths due to fragmentation. So the last thing they wanted to see
was Linux suffer the same fate. I went to a few UNIX users group meetings
back when Linux was first coming out. This point was all they could talk
about.


> It's one thing to have the moral
> authority to keep a standard intact, quite another to use legal means
> to stop people trying.


Very true. I guess my concern is that I would not have the kind of moral
authority that Linus Torvolds has. A) He wrote the entire Linux OS on his
own. That gives you a hell of a lot of "street cred." And B) He was able
to get in on the ground floor of the open source movement.

I am a relative nobody. I have very little in the way of coding skills.
Instead, I have an incredible natural knack for organizing the heck out
of things. Standards and systems for solving major problems come to me in
the shower. Even among the computer uber-geeks in the world, my skills
are not considered cool. This makes it is harder for me to attain that
kind of moral authority. Therefore, in order to achieve the goals of the
standard, which is educating the world for free, I will need to ensure
that the standard isn't fragmented.

Besides, as I and many experts have said, a standard is not software.
Slightly different rules apply. It's OK if software forks a bit because
people can always choose which fork to take and then switch to another
one at will. Forking can be the death knell for a standard, especially a
standard in which vast quantities of data will be shared worldwide. Once
the data set is split into two different, incompatible groups then no one
will want to participate in either.


> And Unix obviously isn't dead, because Linux is an implementation of
> it.


Now here is where you are flat wrong. Ask any Linux fan, especially Linus
Torvolds, and they will tell you that Linux is not UNIX. Linus replicated
the functionality of UNIX because that wasn't patented but he did not use
ANY of the UNIX source code. This is what allowed him to distribute it
under the GPL in the first place.
 
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Richard Tobin
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      04-07-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Grant Robertson <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>> And Unix obviously isn't dead, because Linux is an implementation of
>> it.


>Now here is where you are flat wrong. Ask any Linux fan, especially Linus
>Torvolds, and they will tell you that Linux is not UNIX. Linus replicated
>the functionality of UNIX because that wasn't patented but he did not use
>ANY of the UNIX source code. This is what allowed him to distribute it
>under the GPL in the first place.


He didn't use any of AT&T's code, but Unix is a generic term for a
family of operating systems, of which Linux is an example. One of the
purported holders of the "UNIX" trademark might try to enforce their
trademark rights, but trademark law merely controls what terms can be
used in trade; it doesn't change the fact of the matter. Fortunately
I am not engaged in selling operating systems so I can state the facts
without worrying about trademarks.

-- Richard

--
"Consideration shall be given to the need for as many as 32 characters
in some alphabets" - X3.4, 1963.
 
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Grant Robertson
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      04-07-2007
In article <ev6t35$2sks$(E-Mail Removed)>,
(E-Mail Removed) says...
> I know about C#, but I'm afraid I have completely lost track of your
> argument.


You mentioned that Sun's trademark on Java had prevented Microsoft from
making a variant. I just showed that MS did make a variant but that
variant was not nearly as popular as the original. So, I helped prove
your point. As you can see, I'm not actually here to argue. I'm here to
learn. But I'm not going to just believe that a standard should not be
protected just because a few people on the internet tell me it shouldn't.
I have been taking things people say and using it to fuel research in to
the issue.


> Java and C# are not an example of purely legal means preventing a
> company from extending a standard; the trademark on Java meant that
> Microsoft would have had to rename their variant, but it was the
> strength of the Java brand that made that (apparently) impractical.


So, since Sun used both legal and moral means to enforce the "standard"
of Java it is hard to say which did the trick. Perhaps it took both
together to get the job done and protect Java enough for it to gain a
real foothold in the market. Now that Java has that foothold, it may be
hard to see that it needed legal means to get it's foot in the door, to
really wear out the metaphor.

Perhaps I will need legal means to start out with, in order to keep my
standard from just getting yanked every which way. I feel that once
people see the value in what it can do then people will get on board
regardless of the legal protections. Remember, I am only trying to keep
the standard itself from forking and getting diluted. I am not saying
anything about controlling what software people can write to make use of
the standard.


> To go back to what I thought was the point: there are various legal
> mechanisms you can use to discourage people from extending your
> standard, and they may or may not work depending on things like
> whether you have the respect of your user community, whether you have
> built up a "brand", and so on. But I doubt you can find any purely
> legal means to prevent people from doing so: I don't know of any cases
> where that has been successful, and I don't think the law *should*
> allow you to.


Well, it doesn't matter what anyone thinks *should* be the case. I could
patent, copyright, and trademark the heck out of this thing if I wanted
to and no one would be able to do anything with it. But then that is the
point, isn't it. No one would *want* to do anything with it. The trick is
to find the right level of protection without killing the standard or
letting it fork all over the place, thus becoming worthless.


> And in any case, we have yet to see this "standard". We don't even
> know whether anyone will want to use it, let alone extend it.


And you won't for some time now. I still have quite a bit of work to do
before this thing is ready for prime time. Before then, too many hints
may inspire knock-off standards to spring up and poison the waters, so to
speak. Remember, this is not software. This is a standard. The idea is to
build a standard which will encourage many open source and commercial
developers to write software to the standard. I am also designing the
standard so that much of the software could be created by piecing
together many standard software modules already in existence. This will
make it even easier for developers to write software.

By creating a total system - the standard, an organizational system,
reference software, and licenses - very carefully, I hope to create a
situation where within a few years *quality* educational material will be
as easily available as bad web pages.
 
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