OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

ubl-dev message

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]

Subject: Sun Microsystems UBL Non-Assertion Covenant

At a conference hosted by the Cox School of Business at Southern
Methodist University yesterday (20 July), Greg Papadopoulos, Sun
Microsystems Chief Technology Officer and Executive VP of R&D,
announced the issuance of a Non-Assertion Covenant (NAC) for UBL.

Sun's unilateral, voluntary waiver of its right to enforce
possibly relevant patent claims alleviates the burden upon UBL
implementers to negotiate license terms, eliminates paperwork, and
creates a favorable environment for the develoment of open-source
UBL software.  The UBL NAC joins similar declarations regarding
SAML and ODF; see http://xml.coverpages.org/ni2006-06-15-a.html
for background on these earlier announcements.

The full text of the Sun UBL NAC can be found at


I am not a lawyer, but my interpretation of the NAC is as follows.

 - A Non-Assertion Covenant takes Royalty Free up one notch: it is
   not only Royalty Free, it is also License Free.  No need to ask
   for a license, no need to investigate whether a license is
   required, no need to think in terms of sub-licensing, no need
   to figure out how or whom to ask for a license.

 - The NAC contains what Papadopoulos refers to as a "mutual
   assured destruction" clause designed to discourage other patent
   holders from asserting their claims against UBL. It says, in
   effect, "We won't shoot you if you don't shoot us or anybody
   else" -- not just us, anybody!

 - It is irrevocable.  No one can change or revoke it, not even

I don't put on my Sun Micro hat very often, but in this case I
must say that I am extremely proud of my company for taking the
lead on cleaning up the incredible mess that software patents have
become.  This is the best possible example of how to use patents
defensively and the best possible example of how to do things in a
manner that is unquestionably friendly to government bodies and
open-source software projects.

But one company cannot accomplish this alone.  I challenge other
companies to help out by supporting Sun's NACs or by issuing
similar covenants themselves.  That way we'll see who's really
interested in restoring sanity to standards IPR -- and by their
absence, who's planning to abuse the standards process in the case
of UBL.

Jon Bosak, Corporate Standards, Sun Microsystems
Chair, OASIS UBL Technical Committee

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]