Re: Has CompuServe lost its ability to license GIF?

David - Morris (
Mon, 2 Jan 95 22:09:28 EST

I surely hope this is simply a necessary legal act by Unisys and Compuserve
to protect their rights to use the technology. Otherwise this is clearly
going to be a round to the laywers. The dates are significant. In June
Unisys and Compuserve reach an agreement which protects Compuserve's right
to use the Unisys LZW patent and requires Compuserve within 6 months to
do what they just did.

>From the posting it wasn't clear to me that there is any claim made if
developers don't obtain the GIF spec from Compuserve. Was there additional
material which demands that all existing usage cease? What about AOL?
PreWWW, the only GIF stuff I ever obtained came from AOL, not Compuserve.

It amazes me that there are two patents extending Liv Zemple (I believe Stac
Electronics - LZS is patented) plus I'm aware of a LZ variant which has
been in use since prior to 1985 which I presume is different or would have
precluded the LZS or LZW patents... or may be patented as well).

Sure would like a real patent attorney to comment on the issues here. There
is a lot of investment in GIF re. WWW. There was a concern in side
discussions at the IETF that failure to close quickly on the latest HTML
standards would provide an opportunity for competing interests to muddy
the water. This looks like a giant opportunity to lose momentum unless
a quick favorable resolution is forthcoming.

Dave Morris