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RealTime IT News

RSA Frees SAML-related Patents

RSA Security , in an effort to clear the way for the widespread adoption of the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) specification, announced Monday that it will grant non-exclusive royalty-free license use of two of its patents to companies deploying applications using SAML.

SAML, an OASIS specification, is an XML framework for exchanging authentication and authorization information. It is designed to allow secure single sign-on across portals within organizations, as well as across portals, Web sites and applications between and across companies. SAML has been approved by its OASIS Technical Committee but has not yet been taken up by the OASIS membership as a whole, a necessary step in a specification's road to becoming a standard.

RSA, which has actively participated in the development of SAML within OASIS, said it will implement the specification extensively across its product lines.

"SAML is an important proposed standard for federating identity, and is widely applicable to both enterprise and value chain environments that need to leverage a user identity that can span traditional security domain boundaries," said Phil Schacter, director and senior analyst for the Burton Group. "At this critical early stage in the lifecycle of a new standard, it's important that any obstacle to industry adoption be removed. RSA Security's decision to offer SAML implementers royalty-free access to these two patents that potentially impact with the OASIS specification is a positive move for the industry, and may help to speed adoption of this key Web services security standard."

To further demonstrate its support for the specification, RSA also said it will participate in SAML Interoperability 2002, a SAML 1.0 interoperability showcase at the Burton Group Catalyst Conference in San Francisco, slated for July. RSA said it will showcase its RSA ClearTrust Web access management solution.

"RSA Security is committed to standardization efforts and implementations that help our customers achieve rapid integration of new technologies to become more productive and efficient," said John Worrall, vice president of marketing at RSA. "By granting royalty-free use of our patents, RSA Security hopes to help standards and specification work by bodies such as OASIS to move forward quickly, benefiting from RSA Security's vision and investment in prior technology. We hope this will help speed adoption of the SAML specification and interoperability across the industry and encourage others with patents in this area to follow suit for the benefit of the industry at large."

Patents have increasingly become a touchy subject among a number of standards bodies. In February, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) backed away from a plan to allow RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) licenses in its standards.