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

Patent Policy Threatens Technological Advancement

From: Jonathan Kennedy <Jonathan.Kennedy@BillServ.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 10:13:15 -0500
Message-ID: <E343201F1F5AD411B2350004AC4CB3420193B519@www.securebills.com>
To: "'www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org'" <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>

The new patent policy under consideration by the W3C currently threatens the
advancement and quality of product being brought to the market today by
internet developers. The use of patented technology will prove to benefit no
one except the current corporate entities that have the biggest market share
of browser sales. Without substantial gains in capitol, emergent
technologies will not be allowed to flourish on the web. Such a standard
would also undercut the existence of Not For Profit, Open Source projects
that aim toward providing a quality product for all users. These projects
work mainly on volunteered time and without any capital what-so-ever. To
standardize on patented technologies would not hinder development of open
source technologies, but destroy them outright.

However, I am appalled to think that this might actually be the agenda of
such a proposal. The W3C made advancement in the 3.0 HTML specification. It
should be noted that while open source projects continued to work toward
compliance, those that held the biggest share in the market continued to
produce their own me-centric specifications, disregarding any conformance to
the public standard. With the publication of 3.2 standard, all of the
coherence in the original 3.0 specification was lost. Instead of pushing
forward with those rules that would serve to advance the quality of
technologies produced, the 3.2 "standard" simply legitimized the
uncompetitive practices of those business that ignored the 3.0 standard.
This was also a blow to those open source projects that had been working
toward conformance, but were now not in adherence to the specification.
Now we are going to further legitimize such practices by not only accepting
them, but by giving them all of the power they need to continue to drown the
market with incompatible technologies. That which has made the web the
powerful medium that it is today is its reliance on non-proprietary
protocols. In other words, technology that people can freely use to
contribute to the community at any time. The introduction of such a policy
threatens to tie the hands of those amongst us that care the most about the
_quality_ of software being distributed to the masses. To publicly endorse
the use of patented formats and protocols is an irresponsible abuse of power
that was given to the W3C in good faith that it would stay in conformance
with its stated goals of leading the web "to its full potential by
developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its
I am aghast to think that the community that I and other developers have
worked so hard to develop to become simply an amalgamation of
corporate-centric payware in which a developer can no longer write software
for the masses unless he has the backing of a huge corporate conglomeration.
I am also aghast to see how it would destroy the ability of any other
businesses to enter the market, because even if you do have money, patented
technology _does not have to be shared_. The endorsement of patented
technology would only serve to benefit a handful of few while discouraging
the introduction of interoperable, quality technologies to the masses. I
respectfully request that the W3C rethink its current position as a
community leader and abandon the notion of advocating standards that would
tie the hands of all but a select few.

Jonathan A. Kennedy
Programmer/Analyst - SIG Development

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Received on Monday, 1 October 2001 11:16:00 UTC

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