Patenting a Standard


I haven’t been a big booster of JSR-170, the Content Repository for Java Technology API, or its sequel JSR-283 here. It isn’t that I have anything against them, it is just that I think that the bigger problem is at a higher level of the architecture stack. I think ECM systems should be accessed through Services and not APIs whenever possible. It is also a little too technology focused.

CMS Watch is a bigger proponent of the JSRs than I am and recently shared news of a patent filing by BEA that is troublesome. It seems that BEA Systems is trying to patent an extension of those JSRs that combines multiple repositories into a Virtual Content Repository. This would address the concept of Federated repositories, which is not currently addressed by JSR-283.

The Content Repository Java API standard has gone through two versions to date. The first was just to get it out there. The second added more muscle. What about the third version down the road? If BEA has a patent, won’t it stand in the way of the evolving standard? I believe it will, in the works of CMS Watch become a kind of anti-standard.

This isn’t to say that there can’t be another way to grow the standard to gracefully work with multiple repositories. By developing, and locking-up, their own approach, BEA Systems is not helping the process.

Maybe we’ll be lucky. Maybe they’ll offer it for free use by the Java API standard. Maybe they only patented it so that if it is rejected, they can use and protect it. Maybe the Cubs will win the World Series this year.

Hey, anything is possible.

2 thoughts on “Patenting a Standard

  1. Thanks Bex. I had heard and wasn’t pleased, for other reasons. So whatever the original intent for the patents, Oracle can do what they please.

    I guess I should be glad I’m not a Cubs fan then.

    Oh, and to answer your question, YES! Service based standard is the way to go I feel.

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