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OASIS foe claims victory in IBM patent giveaway

Call it the six-week patent war.

Lawrence Rosen, a lawyer with Rosenlaw & Einschlag and author of "Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law," on Sunday declared victory in the battle he spearheaded against OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) for its patent policy (OASIS patent policy sparks boycott, February 22, 2005).

"I don't think it is too soon to congratulate ourselves that a huge battle has been won," Rosen wrote in response to Sunday's story in the New York Times reporting that IBM would make all future patented contributions to OASIS standards free of charge (IBM looks for profit in free patents, April 10, 2005). "IBM is the big gorilla in the patent zoo, and when it agrees to open standards in OASIS we're a good long way to victoryÂ…There may still be skirmishes among the professionals. But in broad brush, I think we just won 'No RAND (reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing terms, i.e., not royalty-free) in OASIS.'"

So does this mean the boycott's over?

"It was never a 'boycott,'" Rosen replied in answer to that question. "I was a little bit sorry the press used that word. If you read our letter carefully, we simply advised people to avoid all RAND-based standards in OASIS. So now, at least with respect to IBM's patents, we're probably going to be safe from RAND in OASIS going forward. That's the victory we should claim."