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Re: Regarding the Patent Policy

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 00:20:38 -0700
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070315072038.GA5373@ridley.dbaron.org>
On Wednesday 2007-03-14 23:55 -0700, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> There have been many discussions of the W3C Patent Policy and how it  
> might apply to this group. I think a lot of people are  
> misunderstanding the policy and what it requires. I am not a lawyer,  
> so please don't take the following as legal advice, but here is my  
> layman's understanding.

I'm also not a laywer, so the same disclaimer applies, but your
summary seems good to me.

A few minor comments, though:

> - Working group participants must agree to license any patent claims  
> they have that may apply to the working group's specs on a royalty  
> free basis.

Note that what they must agree to is actually rather restrictive.
Restrictions include:
 * They are only required to license patents that are *essential* to
   implementing the specification.
 * The license of the patent "may be limited to implementations of
   the Recommendation, and to what is required by the
   Recommendation". [1]

> - It is not a problem to have people subscribed to or posting to the  
> list, or participating in the conversation, without having signed the  
> policy. This does not reduce or increase the patent-safety of the spec.

It could increase the patent-safety of the spec if it gets somebody
who has relevant patents to agree to the patent policy.

But I agree that it's not a problem -- or at least not a problem we
can solve without creating bigger problems.


[1] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy-20040205/#sec-Requirements

L. David Baron                                <URL: http://dbaron.org/ >
           Technical Lead, Layout & CSS, Mozilla Corporation

Received on Thursday, 15 March 2007 07:20:47 UTC

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