zaterdag 12 januari 2008

ISO warned about possible patent violations of DIS29500 (aka OOXML)

I have just send the following email to ISO members (you can find some of their email addresses on the INCTIS website) to warn them about the possible patent ambush:


Subject: Possible patent violations of DIS29500 (aka OOXML)

Dear Members of ISO JTC1,

I am writing to you in relation to the proposed standard DIS29500 (aka OOXML) now in discussion inside ISO.

While browsing the net, I found that one company named Scientigo was claiming 2 patents on XML:

* Groklaw: Scientigo Claims Patents on XML (
* ZDNet: Small company makes big claims on XML patents (
* TechDirt: Company Claims To Have Patented XML; Plans To Sue Everyone (
* eWeek: Scientigo Makes Broad XML Patent Claims ( )
* Wikipedia: Scientigo (
* Cnet: Small company makes big claims on XML patent (

The Cnet article is mentioning that the company intends to monetise its patents:

"Charlotte, N.C.-based Scientigo owns two patents (No. 5,842,213 and No. 6,393,426) covering the transfer of "data in neutral forms." These patents, one of which was applied for in 1997, are infringed upon by the data-formatting standard XML, Scientigo executives assert. Scientigo intends to "monetize" this intellectual property, Scientigo CEO Doyal Bryant said this week."

I wonder if the OOXML specification with its 6000 pages is safe from violations for the 2 mentioned patents.

I thus want to attract your attention according to the patent policy of ISO ( that those patents could endanger the proposed standard:

"[...] any party not participating in Technical Bodies may draw the attention of the Organizations to any known Patent, either their own and/or of any third-party."

I hope you will be able to make the necessary clarifications in order to provide legal certainty to the users of the standard.

Best regards,

J Wang

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