Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More on the Rutgers/Onstar patent litigation

The announcement that Rutgers is going after GM/Onstar is not the first controversy with US 6,240,448, "Method and system for audio access to information in a wide-area computer network." W3C had a problem with it years ago.

from CNET:

But one potential problem, disclosed to the W3C's VoiceXML working group in October 2001, hasn't gone away: Rutgers' U.S. Patent No. 6,240,448, "Method and system for audio access to information in a wide-area computer network."

The patent raised a red flag, because Rutgers offered it under "reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing" (RAND) terms rather than royalty-free, putting the university at odds with the W3C's policy for technology deemed essential to the recommendation.

With the W3C failing to win a royalty-free license, its investigators next sought to determine whether the technology in question was in fact essential to the VoiceXML specification.

In May of last year, after VoiceXML had entered its candidate recommendation phase, the PAG queried Rutgers' licensing agent, Fairfield Resources International in Stamford, Conn., asking for its opinion on the matter.

Recall separately that W3C had a problem with the Eolas patent, which actually originated at the University of California at Berkeley. Recall that the patent that got Michael Crichton all bent out of shape for patenting a natural process originated at a university (two universities, actually). And the Ariad patent originated at two universities. Hmmm, is there a pattern?

The 2004 CNET article began with the text:

Software developers said they are concerned that a recommendation for VoiceXML 2.0, which the World Wide Web Consortium advanced (W3C) this month, could fall afoul of a Rutgers University patent that was disclosed to the group more than two years ago. The W3C is responsible for approving most Web software standards, such as how browsers render Web pages, and recently adopted a controversial policy that aims to exclude most patented technology from its specifications.

[IPBiz post 1970]


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