[uf-new] Legal implications of using Microformats

Manu Sporny msporny at digitalbazaar.com
Thu May 10 20:39:32 PDT 2007

Guy Fraser wrote:
> Many microforamts state that they are likely to be released under a
> "royalty free patent" - it's *really* vital to note that from a legal
> standpoint there are some absolute show-stopper problems with this:
> 1. Intent does not guarantee what will happen - intent can change over
> time. From a legal standpoint, this means any work based on
> microformats is playing "russian roulette" with the future status of
> that  microformat
> - if it suddenly became patented, companies would face lawsuits.
> 2. Royalty free != free of cost. Royalty free means that when you hava
> license you can distribute your works under that license at no extra
> cost until the license expires. It does not mean that getting said
> license is free and the patent holder can charge anything they want.

Guy (and others interested in this topic),

I had a very long phone conversation with Rohit Khare about these topics
last week. There are two issues here: Copyrights and Patents.

It is my belief that we have convinced Rohit that there could be
copyright issues regarding Microformats. He has stated that he will
address our concerns directly via the wiki. This will happen after he
has deliberated with some of the other principals in the
Microformats.org group.

I'm supposed to bug him about it after two weeks have passed if the
changes haven't been made to the wiki regarding the copyright concerns.

I was not successful in convincing him that there were potential patent
issues with the authors of particular Microformats. He said that he
would attempt to clarify those issues via the wiki as well.

Let's wait off a bit on the copyright and patent discussion until
they've been able to address the issue in the wiki. They have two weeks
to do it and if there are still issues after the wiki has been updated,
we could begin discussion on it again.

The parties that are responsible for these things are aware that there
are issues and they're working on fixing them.

-- manu

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