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Subject: FW: [office] ODF Reciprocal License Allegation

To Michael, Gary, et al,

  I'm forwarding this to the TC list on behalf of Eduardo Gutentag.



-----Original Message-----
From: Eduardo Gutentag [mailto:Eduardo.Gutentag@Sun.COM] 
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 8:54 PM
To: Mary McRae
Subject: Re: [office] ODF Reciprocal License Allegation

Mary, since I am only an Observer of the Office TC, could you please forward this to Gary and the rest of the TC, written in my
capacity of Sun's primary representative to OASIS? Thank you.


Gary, others,

can you spell FUD? Yes, I knew you could ;)

There are a few things that should be made clear, since the goal of FUD is always to make things unclear.

What Sun posted as an IPR promise in 2002, as anyone in this field knows, including Brian, was a conventional short form assurance
that, if we turned to have any patents that read on the specification, we would license them RF.
We have never turned up any patents reading on the specification, so there has been no need to compose, let alone grant, a license.
(Let me remind you that the issue here is an XML schema, not software; the very idea of patenting and enforcing patents against
schemas is really more someone else's style and idea of fun than Sun's.)

The whole point of that assurance was to voluntarily remove FUD, by making it clear there would be no licensing obstacles.

We have all come a long way since 2002.  After some aggressive uses of asserted patents and sub-licensing issues-- again, not from
us -- the open source communities are now very cautious about precise license terms. This is actually good. And many vendor
companies have also become more sensitive to the needs of the open source communities. This is even better.

To make implementors' analysis actually simpler, we at Sun are dotting the i's and crossing the t's on something which will be made
public sometime hopefully within the next few days and that we believe will satisfy everybody. Well, almost everybody; certainly not
those who are spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

By the way, those criticisms about reciprocity and sub-licensing are flat wrong.
On sublicensing, they looked at the wrong rules. The 2000 OASIS IPR policy that governs OpenDocument has no sublicensing bar. Their
conments about reciprocity were so far off as to be surreal. Yes, Sun reserved a reciprocity right; so does Microsoft; so does
everyone else in this industry. It's a non-issue and no obstacle to free (or otherwise) software. We could go much deeper into the
tedious details if needed, but it's not needed. There's no real issue here.
Only made-up ones.

On 09/26/2005 08:39 AM, Gary Edwards wrote:
> Hi all,
> Pamela Jones of Groklaw.net just contacted me about the license of the 
> OpenDocument format. She pointed out a blog from Microsoft's Brian Jones:
> http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/09/22/472826.aspx
> <MS Brian Jones quote>
> While we're on this topic, I think it's important that you all take a 
> look at the comparable situation with Open Document. A lot of folks 
> just seem to assume that since it's a standard, there are no IP issues 
> and everything is very straightforward. Well, take a look at this:
> http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/office/ipr.php Sun seems to be 
> saying that it may have IP in the Open Document spec. While Sun says 
> it is willing to provide a royalty-free license, one would still need 
> to ask Sun for a license. The license is not posted. It would be 
> interesting to see, and I'll probably try to see if I can find it. The 
> statement on the site alone reveals that at a minimum, they have at 
> least one condition - you have to give Sun a reciprocal license.
> </quote>
> <OOo Discuss quote>
> We need a response to this MS allegation that there are IP issues with 
> ODF.  And whether ODF is GPL-compatible. It is hard to imagine it not 
> being GPL compatible, since it's being used by KOffice, which is GPL.  
> I hope Gary can give us an answer.
> </quote>
> Any thoughts on this?  Before the day is out i will try to speak with 
> Peter Quinn, the CIO of Massachusetts about this.  No doubt Microsoft 
> hopes this issue falls right on his head.  But i think the OpenDoc TC 
> has to be prepared to respond.
> ~ge~

Eduardo Gutentag               |         e-mail: eduardo.gutentag@Sun.COM
Corporate Standards            |         Phone:  +1 510 550 4616 (internal x31442)
Sun Microsystems Inc.          |         W3C AC Rep / W3C AB / OASIS BoD

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