Voice XML2.0 a voice protocol issued last Tuesday as a candidate recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is stuck in an industry quarrel over intellectual property rights. According to the W3C, Philips Electronics and Rutgers University threaten to keep the final specification tied up in negotiations.
This question arises as the formal version 1.0 was developed not at W3C but under the aegis of the VoiceXML Forum, an organism founded by AT&T, IBM, Lucent Technologies and Motorola. This workgroups contributions were adopted by W3C in May 2000.
This workgroup was built upon a RAND policy, implying that companies could claim intellectual property rights to the technologies they contributed under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. This policy changed last year to a royalty-free philosophy.
Nevertheless, the VoiceXML specifications were devised under RAND principles, and some organisations that provided code under that policy are reluctant at the W3C s request to relinquish their intellectual property claims.
‘We’ve been working diligently on getting our members to change from RAND to royalty-free and have successfully done this with most of the members, but there are still two or three that want to have a RAND license. That was the original policy that they signed up for, and they are not willing to change their position,’ explained Jim Larson, co-chair of the W3C’s voice browser working group and manager of advanced human I/O (input/output) at Intel.
Those sticking to their ‘RAND’ status include Philips, Avaya and Rutgers. Microsoft and IBM, which have resisted royalty-free pressures in other contexts, have relinquished their claims on VoiceXML , Larson said.
In response to the intellectual property imbroglio, the W3C will set up a patent advisory group to work out the differences. Until that group is formed and has completed its work, VoiceXML will not proceed to full recommendation status.
See related article: “W3C issues VoiceXML 2.0 as a candidate recommendation”
Source: ZDNet News