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SOAP 1.2 stumbles on IP blocks

Royalty issues

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With the ratifications of the proposed SOAP 1.2 standard within spitting distance, a number of intellectual property issues are proving stubbornly hard to shift. To date, standards body the W3C has cleared hundreds of hurdles in defining SOAP 1.2 but it has failed so far to overcome 11 IP issues.

SOAP 1.2 is a lightweight protocol based on XML standards which will enable the exchange of data across a distributed environment across a variety of protocols. So it needs to be independent, and that means free of royalty charges, which is part of the W3C remit, and legally compatible with the rest of the industry.

This is where the problem begins, InfoWorld reports. According to the publication the W3C has discovered some serious issues related to the SOAP 1.2 protocol and intellectual property. It is possible for instance that both WebMethods and Epicentric (the latter was acquired last month by Vignette), hold patents on technology that the SOAP protocol may rely on.

Note the "possible". It's not entirely clear yet, but both firms say the matter could be cleared with a royalty payment. This throws up a further issue - SOAP 1.2 can't have any royalty payments attached to its use. So there's still quite a lot of work to be done on this. It's not clear how this would be tackled (some kind of diplomacy presumably).

InfoWorld also reports that multiple companies have found IP issues relating to this implementation. It notes that companies as diverse, and as IP heavy, as IBM and Tibco say they have no problems with the SOAP 1.2 protocol as far as their IP is concerned.

A bit of back scratching, a bit of promise, SOAP will still make it through. We hope.

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