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Subject: Re: [chairs] Microsoft's "Open Specification Promise"

[Gabe Wachob]
> I would hope that this sort of licensing catches on here in OASIS.


Details here:

"Microsoft's Open Specification Promise Eases Web Services Patent Concerns"

The "Microsoft Open Specification Promise" shares key characteristics
of the patent non-assertion covenant and "patent pledge" instruments
used by other companies in relation to OASIS specifications (e.g.,
Sun's non-assert WRT SAML v2.0 and UBL).

In the case of the Microsoft OSP, the declaration covers some 35
key Web Services specifications, developed or in development at
OASIS, W3C, WS-I, and elsewhere.

While I cannot comment in detail in the legal aspects of the OSP,
other members of the Open Source community have rendered a
generally favorable verdict.

I especially like these features:

1) the issue of sub-license (present in all three OASIS IPR Modes,
   for example - "non-sublicensable patent license") goes away
   as a non-issue

2) no need for explicit execution of a license agreement:
   "you do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise
    communicate your agreement to Microsoft"

3) no contingency upon a "a full or partial implementation" -
   "you can choose to implement all or part of the specification"

While the trend toward alleviating the burden upon (open source)
development projects has been gaining momentum, thanks to
similar declarations (e.g., Computer Associates, IBM, Nokia, Novell,
OSDL, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems), I feel that the Microsoft OSP
marks September 12, 2006 a magnificent red letter day in the
history of patents and open standards.

More like this!

- Robin Cover


On Wed, 13 Sep 2006, Gabe Wachob wrote:

> People on these lists who have seen my discussions earlier this year about
> IPR licensing may be interested to hear about Microsoft's announcement at
> the Digital Identity World conference [1] of a "Open Specification Promise"
> (OSP) [2] around the Cardspace (formerly Infocard) concept and technology
> [3].
> I have scanned it and from an initial review, it looks like a good model for
> companies who want the lowest-friction means to allow use of their
> intellectual property in specifications which are to be truly open and
> widely adopted.
> I think there will be a great amount of discussion about this OSP,
> especially as to how it enables open source implementations. However,
> perfect or imperfect as it might turn out to be, Microsoft should be
> applauded (esp Kim Cameron and Mike Jones) in making this OSP happen. And I
> would hope that this sort of licensing catches on here in OASIS.
>             -Gabe
> [1] http://conference.digitalidworld.com/2006/
> [2] http://www.identityblog.com/?p=574
> [3] http://msdn.microsoft.com/winfx/reference/infocard/default.aspx

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