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

RE: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

From: Theo de Raadt <deraadt@cvs.openbsd.org>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 02:01:06 -0600
Message-Id: <200110020801.f92816l31006@cvs.openbsd.org>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
> The IETF doesn't seem to have this kind of problem. I've never heard of
> patents on parts of an RFC. A pity it's not feasible to start a Web Area
> of the IETF and shift the open and essential work needed to lead the web
> to its full potential over there, where it would be safe.

Actually, IETF does permit RAND mode standards, but various other
factors are quite a bit different.

A major difference is that discussion and meetings in IETF are *very*
public, and many non-corporate individuals show up to the IETF
meetings without having to even be members.  (I went to the last IETF
in London, and I did not pay for anything but the hotel, and attended
all the meetings of interest to me).  Membership is not required, and
members-only discussions do not happen.  Anyone can go to the
meetings; anyone can discuss on any and all mailing lists.

W3C does not appear to operate in exactly this way.

Since many non-corporate individuals are involved in IETF, attempts by
vendors to include a patent into any protocol which operating systems
might wish to support, very quickly results in arguments that quickly
move away from RAND.

In London, some AT&T researcher proposed a BCP regarding some uses of
random numbers, but when asked about the patent status, he replied
that he did not know.  That was not acceptable.  If there had been
rotten vegetables in the room.....

An example of a IETF patent with patents on it is VRRP.  And free
operating systems cannot include VRRP, because Cisco claims to own a
patent in that space, and is currently embroiled in a very expensive
lawsuit with Alcatel that includes this patent.  We are strongly
entertaining the thought of writing a OVRRP protocol (which we would
design to be maximally conflicting, of course)

There are those of us who are forever playing out little battles in
IETF to block patents.  But I think there is some safety because of
this dissent in IETF.

My guess is that W3C is different enough from IETF, that there would
be no such safety, especially evident by how W3C staff still appear to
be attempting to steamroller this through when the YES:NO ratio on
this mailing list is approximately 1000:1.

I believe that W3C is already prepared to simply rubber stamp certain
future works with the RAND stamp.

When they say that IETF does this, this hides a lie.
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 03:57:37 GMT

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