IP of XML Schema

Discussion in 'XML' started by Michael, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. Michael

    Michael Guest

    If I come up with an XML Schema, do I own the intellectual propertyrights
    for that schema? Can I legally restrict others from using that schema?

    I'm in the UK if that makes any difference...
    Michael, Apr 6, 2007
    #1
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  2. (Not replying to the MS group because, despite its name, it doesn't
    accept public comments via NNTP.)


    Michael wrote:
    > If I come up with an XML Schema, do I own the intellectual propertyrights
    > for that schema? Can I legally restrict others from using that schema?


    Free legal advice is usually not worth what you paid for it, especially
    free international legal advice. If you care about this, spend the money
    and hire a lawyer with expertise in this area.


    My semi-uninformed guess is that you could assert copyright proptection.
    Whether that gives you any enforcable rights, which rights if so, and
    whether any of your possible users will want to go anywhere near it if
    you do so, are all open questions.

    I expect that if you try to get stuffy about the use of a schema, the
    main result is that everyone will use a competing schema instead...
    which may cover exactly the same instance documents. (At least in the
    US, copyright only protects a specific instantiation of ideas; ideas
    themselves would have to qualify for patent before they'd be protectable.)


    --
    Joe Kesselman / Beware the fury of a patient man. -- John Dryden
    Joseph Kesselman, Apr 6, 2007
    #2
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  3. In article <dfsRh.1802$I%>,
    says...
    > If I come up with an XML Schema, do I own the intellectual propertyrights
    > for that schema? Can I legally restrict others from using that schema?


    I am not a lawyer but...

    You can copyright the schema itself, which only protects the text of the
    schema. Someone could duplicate the functionality of the schema using
    different tag names and your copyright would be worthless. Fortunately, a
    copyright doesn't cost anything in the first place. In the US, as soon as
    you create a document (and a schema is a document) then it is
    copyrighted. It helps if you place a copyright notice within it and it
    helps even more if you register it with the copyright office but it isn't
    absolutely necessary.

    You can also patent the design and functionality of the schema. This is a
    costly and time consuming process. In the US you must file at least a
    provisional patent within a year of publishing information about the
    invention, your schema. In the EU you have one day. So you must decide
    ahead of time whether you want the thing to be public domain or not. Do
    not publish the details of your schema until you have made this decision
    and consulted with a lawyer.

    There are many on the internet who will tell you that you can't patent a
    standard, but then write a document using OpenOffice or Star Office which
    creates documents conforming to an XML schema called the "Open Document
    Format" (ODF) which is patented by Sun. It is patented, but they have
    committed themselves to license it royalty-free to anyone. Sun has
    submitted the standard to OASIS and agreed to their patent guidelines, so
    now the OASIS standards body can extend the standard but no one else can.


    Fortunately, writing complicated open source licensing agreements (such
    as GPL or the Apache license) seems to have taken hold in the open source
    community and many accept that a simple public license applied to and
    included with a standard will suffice. Whether that would hold up in
    court has yet to be tested.

    So, if you want your schema to be a public standard then you need to make
    it as open as possible while still protecting it from fragmentation. But,
    if you want to use it in a niche market and not allow anyone else to copy
    it then you should patent it probably copyright it too. It is not an
    either/or proposition despite the what many seem to think. You copyright
    the text of the schema along with the names of all the tags, then you
    patent the design and functionality irrespective of the actual text or
    names of tags.


    > I'm in the UK if that makes any difference...


    Ask your lawyer.
    Grant Robertson, Apr 6, 2007
    #3
  4. Michael

    Peter Flynn Guest

    Michael wrote:
    > If I come up with an XML Schema, do I own the intellectual property
    > rights for that schema?


    Probably. As with anything else you create, it's yours if it's all your
    own original work, unless your employer (or someone else with a
    contractual relationship with you) claims prior rights.

    > Can I legally restrict others from using that schema?


    Not physically. You can take them to court after the event, if they
    breach your copyright or patent, but you can't prevent the breach
    happening in the first place. Copyright and patent protection are
    deterrents, not chains.

    > I'm in the UK if that makes any difference...


    A lot. Talk to a lawyer.

    ///Peter
    Peter Flynn, Apr 7, 2007
    #4
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