New patent threat for W3C specifications
13:02, 30 Jan 2001 UTC | Eric van der Vlist

Co-editor of the W3C XForms Working Draft Micah Dubinko has reported to W3C mailing lists the existence of US patent 6,028,938 entitled "Secure electronic forms permitting layout revision" that may overlap fields covered by the XML Signature and XForms specifications.

The press release by patent owner Shana Corporation allows a wide range of interpretations:

The Worldwide Web Consortium's XForms Working Group - with the mandate to "build a better web form" - has developed the XForms Data Model, which deliberately separates the purpose of a form from its presentation. Having recommended separating the data, the presentation and the rules contained in an electronic form, the Working Group is now faced with the issue of how to manage e-forms transactions securely. It is anticipated that the technology covered by this patent will be of real interest to the Working Group.

And, says Micah Dubinko:

This, to me, muddies the waters significantly, as it calls into question whether the XForms Working Group is free to proceed with our plan to create "the next generation of Web forms". For instance, will interactions between XForms and XML Signatures be impacted by Shana IPR claims?

After the claim by British Telecom to hold a patent on hyperlinks and the XPointer related patent held by Sun, this is the third recent case showing that developers following a W3C specification might not be free of patent claims--a situation WAP developers have already tasted.

Other stories:

Re: New patent threat for W3C specifications (Brent Michalski - 14:22, 30 Jan 2001)

Will it ever end?!

These patents are such crap, the patent office needs to re-think how they do business.

Next, someone will patent soft, fiberous sheets on a cylindrical roller. Then we'd be unable to use toilet paper without paying patent fees.

Just because something hasn't been patented yet, doesn't mean that obvious evolution of existing technologies should be allowed to be patented.

Grrrrrrr. </rant>

> Re: New patent threat for W3C specifications (Rick Jelliffe - 17:15, 30 Jan 2001)
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