In submitting a DRP Distribution and Replication Protocol to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for use as a proposed standard for software distribution, Marimba Inc pushed Novadigm Inc too far and the Mawah, New Jersey-based company yesterday called a time out to the proceedings by slapping a patent it says it has for the […]
In submitting a DRP Distribution and Replication Protocol to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for use as a proposed standard for software distribution, Marimba Inc pushed Novadigm Inc too far and the Mawah, New Jersey-based company yesterday called a time out to the proceedings by slapping a patent it says it has for the technology the on the table. Novadigm, which won what it views as a key patent for internet push technology at the beginning of the year (CI No 3,070), revealed for the first time that it actually filed suit against Marimba back in April, and has warned the W3C that the protocol may infringe its intellectual property rights. It wants W3C to defer consideration of the proposal, and thinks it unlikely W3C boss Tim Berners-Lee would have championed DRP had he known the protocol was the subject of a patent dispute between the two companies. (The first W3C learnt of the claim was when we sent over Novadigm’s statement). Novadigm also plans to contact Marimba’s partners in the submission, namely Netscape Communications Corp, Novell Inc, Sun Microsystems Inc and the @Home Network. The Consortium will still discuss the Marimba submission at its W3C workshop on push technology due to be held next month as it’s not a decision- making venue, however Novadigm wants the W3C to defer any decision until the dispute is settled. This technology is not Marimba’s to give away, said Novadigm chairman Albion Fitzgerald, while admitting that standards are a positive force in the industry. Novadigm’s patent addresses the area of fractional differencing, where desired state configurations are compared and contrasted to identify what components a target actually has in order to determine which are needed or which should be removed. The company believes the DRP’s use of differential indexing is one of the techniques that might infringe its rights. Novadigm, currently struggling to get its own internet-based software distribution products to market (betas in September production ships by year-end), said it was surprised by Marimba’s DRP proposal, and said it had remained silent up until now in an attempt to resolve the issue out of court. Marimba’s sudden magnanimous decision to abandon its own patent process and donate the technology to open standards should be seen in the light of the already gained patent and the ongoing litigation, said Fitzgerald. We own this patent and we’re going to vigorously defend it. Fitzgerald says the company has been trailing red ink while it’s spent two years developing its new internet-based products but that with $26m in the bank it could carry on for another two years at its current loss-rate.