XML co-inventor Bray responds to patent assault

XML co-inventor Bray responds to patent assault

Summary: After seeing the news this morning about how the CEO of Scientigo has plans to extract royalties from those who have implemented the XML specification including Microsoft, Oracle, and Amazon (actually, he could probably sue everybody), I asked the man credited with co-inventing XML -- Sun's Tim Bray -- what he thought of the news.

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After seeing the news this morning about how the CEO of Scientigo has plans to extract royalties from those who have implemented the XML specification including Microsoft, Oracle, and Amazon (actually, he could probably sue everybody), I asked the man credited with co-inventing XML -- Sun's Tim Bray -- what he thought of the news.  Wrote Bray:

The notion that an application filed in January 1997 can cover a technology whose first public draft was in November 1996, and which was based on a then-ten-year-old ISO standard, seems ridiculous on the face of it.  So one assumes that they're not trying to put a tollboth on XML itself, it must be some particular B2B application of it or some such.  There are no specifics of what they're claiming on their Web site

The then-ten-year-old ISO standard to which Bray is referring is SGML.   According to Bray, XML "is just (SGML - 80%) + URIs for external references + Unicode." Given that Scientigo CEO Doyal Bryant specifically mentioned Amazon as a potential target for royalty extraction, Bray could be right about the  e-commerce angle.  To the extent that vendors like Oracle and Microsoft have platforms that may facilitate potentially infringing e-commerce applications, they could be targets too.

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  • The big companies are going to SCO them...

    I'm pretty sure I can use "SCO" as a verb meaning:
    To crush a company that tries to make money off a patent that is either invalid, or has nothing to do with, other another more successful innovation.

    How would I pronouce that for use as verb "s-c-o" or "skio")?
    el1jones
    • Pronunciation

      [i]To crush a company that tries to make money off a patent that is either invalid, or has nothing to do with, other another more successful innovation.[/i]

      Contrary to totally clueless journalists, SCOX never claimed that any of their patents were infringed. This may have something to do with the fact that unlike copyrights, patents are quite specific and transfers must be registered with the USPTO. Oh, that and SCOX basically doesn't have any.

      [i]How would I pronouce that for use as verb "s-c-o" or "skio")?[/i]

      It rhymes with "cow."
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Hukd Ahn Foniks Wirked Fer Mi...

        Nah. That would be the word "scow" which is descriptive of a class of slow boats as in "Ach, Captain, he called the Enterprise a garbage scow!"

        Probably, obeying the rules of English phonics, that would pronounce as either SKO (like the last syllable of DISCO) or SKAH (i.e., a short O sound at the end...

        Either way, let's just expand the definition to include any lowlife company or individual who tries to extort monies or other compensation undeservedly from targets of opportunity. That way there's no needless wrangling over the difference between patents and copyrights (which wrangling is clearly a weak attempt to sidestep the greater moral issues here).

        Anyhoo, down with these lowlife punks. I hope now the networked world will wake up and realize what stranglers software patents have become.
        horusfalcon
  • If XML itself is not the problem, what is?

    Has anyone dug up any details on their claim? It can't be anything as simple as the XML defintion itself.
    balsover
  • I just looked

    I just scanned the two patents 5,842,213 and 6,393,426 which were reference in the earlier article, and It looks to my layman's eye like they pretty much are trying to patent tagged formatting of data across the board with no reference about how it will be used.
    tima_z
    • What's important

      Is the wording of the claims. This is what will pin down exactly what scope was granted by the patent.

      Of course, given the nature of software, nobody can be sure the patents are valid. Are they anticipated by earlier patents that you (and the examiner) didn't think of the terms to retrieve? If not invalidated by earlier patents, how about the much more vast world of open literature?

      This is why software patents were such a [u] great[/u] idea - for the lawyers.
      IT_User
      • The wording of the claims

        is very short and very broad. Totally only a couple of claims to each patent, Claim 1 is quite long consisting of a list of short sentences describing very generic properties of tagged data.

        In other words, I already read the claims before posting (above). Their claims essentially cover all tagged data systems.

        This is a marvelous proof that the USPTO basically rubber-stamps software patents.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
    • I only saw the title of the patent on their web page

      I don't beleive that they can seriously make a claim on the format of XML without dealing with prior art issues.

      On their web page there was mention of transporting data, computers have been transporting data since networks existed. Do they claim to have invented TCP/IP or Web services?

      This is starting to sound like SCO the more that I think about it.
      balsover
  • This looks interesting...

    Scientigo, Inc. trades under the symbol MKTE.OB

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=MKTE.OB&t=5y&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=

    I suspect possible financial motivation. The last time that I looked they were trading at a huge 1.15/share. Looks like they are fighting to keep their stock price about $1/share.
    balsover
  • Down With Scientigo

    as they stated in their statement... somewhere , can't remember .. they are just doing this to get some extra assets ... but i doubt they'll ever get anything ...
    Brakk Stein