W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > October 2001

Road rules aren't patented, why should protocols be?

From: Leon Brooks <leon@cyberknights.com.au>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 17:10:44 +0800
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <01100117104400.14427@lucy.brooks>
To everyone, for it concerns you all:

Patenting tools and methods for building roads is one thing, patenting roads 
themselves, or the standards to which roads are built, is quite a different 

Likewise with software. Patenting techniques for achieving standards is fine, 
but those standards should always be freely reachable by anybody and 

This includes the poorest student of no reputation using a school computer 
because they can't afford their own; it includes industrial giants like IBM, 
Hewlett Packard and Sun; it includes icons of the digital world like Richard 
Stallman and that Finnish bloke named after a Peanuts character; it includes 
government bodies like the CIA and Congress.

As soon as you publish a basic standard which involves patentable or patented 
technology, you block out everyone who can't afford to play, can't play for 
political reasons, or can't play because the technology is banned to them. 
Leaving the option of a patentable extension is acceptable, although not 
preferred. Specific patented technologies should never be written into a 

Look back at how corporate giants like Netscape and Microsoft behaved even 
when they had open standards to hew to; now look forward to how they'll 
behave if they can hide their actions behind a patent.

Please let the W3C continue to forbid patented technology in its standards.

Leon Brooks <leon@cyberknights.com.au>
Director, CyberKnights Pty Ltd
Western Australia

"I love the way Microsoft follows standards. In much the same manner
 that migrating fish follow caribou." -- Paul Tomblin 
"Now I have this image in my mind of a fish embracing and extending
 a caribou." -- Christian Bauernfeind
Received on Monday, 1 October 2001 05:11:33 UTC

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