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

"Non-discriminatory" patents will kill the web

From: Charles Cazabon <wwwpatentpolicy@discworld.dyndns.org>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 08:06:57 -0600
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Cc: letters@lwn.net
Message-ID: <20011002080657.A23480@twoflower.internal.do>
Dear sirs,

The W3C is currenty bandying about the idea that incorporating patented
technologies in proposed W3C standards would be acceptable, providing that the
patent holder agreed to license the patents to all comers for a reasonable and
"non-discriminatory" fee.

What leap of logic led to this great fallacy?  How did the W3C come to propose
this absurdity which could lead to the destruction of not only itself, but of
the web in toto?

Patents serve one purpose -- they allow the patent holder to exclude others
from manufacturing or using an "invention" of the patent holder.  The patent
holder can then use this government-granted permit to either monopolize a
market legally, or to extort money from all other parties interested in
participating in a market.

The W3C, on the other hand, has always tried to promote technical
interoperability and sane standards.  It has done an admirable job of this.
Without royalty-free standards such as those that underpin the web today,
where would we be?  How advanced or useful would the web be if HTML or other
standard were encumbered by patents?  How diverse would the content of the web
be if the only organizations that could publish content were the ones that
could afford to purchase patent licenses?  The actual dollar amounts are
immaterial; any patent license fees at all would have completely eliminated
all but the commercial players, and the commercial players are not what have
made the web a success today.

The W3C must reject this RAND proposal; it must refuse to endorse any proposed
standard that uses patented technologies or methods unless a royalty-free
license is granted to all interested parties.

Charles Cazabon
Charles Cazabon                  <wwwpatentpolicy@discworld.dyndns.org>
GPL'ed software available at:  http://www.qcc.sk.ca/~charlesc/software/
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 10:07:27 UTC

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