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

RAND - feeding corporate greed.

From: Geoff Wong <geoff@zikzak.net>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 00:32:41 +1000 (EST)
Message-Id: <200110021432.f92EWf9t005522@datadyne.zikzak.net>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

To whom it may concern,

I'm am writing in regards to the W3C Patent Policy Framework.
I am the Technical Director of a small software development
company (Zikzak Technologies).  I have been developing software 
for 20 years.  I'm am also the holder of a software patent. 

I am very concerned about the RAND proposal to allow 
patents into standards. It appears to be a proposal developed
and motivated by large corporates which will only
benefit those corporations. In the long run it will lead
to fragmentation and stifling of network infrastructure standards. 
Already a large amount of this infrastructure is controlled by 
too few organisations. 

** What is "reasonable" to a US corporate probably borders on         **
** insanity for an individual open source developer residing in a     **
** poorer country. Royalties by their very nature are discriminatory. **

To allow "pay-for" standards to be developed and sanctioned
by the W3C is simply to increase the leverage and control
these organisations already have. Examine some of the outrageous
licensing currently being propogated by large US software 
corporations if there is any doubt about their desire to control 
developers and the products being developed. The long term fragmentation
and stagnation effect that will almost certainly result from
patents in standards can only be detrimental to end uers, small business, 
open source developers and anyone else trying contribute to or improve 
existing standards. 

While the proposal states that RAND is not meant for basic 
infrastructure, it's very difficult to predict what will be 
"basic" infrastructure in five or ten years. After all the 
HTTP protocol became a key protocol very quickly and unexpectedly.  
Once a patented protocol establishes itself in this type of position 
future development will be seriously hindered as low margin players and
individuals will not be able to afford to develop with 
or improve upon these standards.

You can also be sure certain large software companies (those
who seem to have developed the RAND proposal) will
be strongly motivated to embed RAND patents within standards 
in as many key places as possible and ensure this scenario
does occur. The web has been successful largely because of
open cooperation and adherence (more or less) to a common
set of standards. To allow a deliberate wealth divide will
be to simply destroy this cooperative effort.

A number of these large corporations have shown no respect
for the law, once they control standards and the W3C how much
respect will they have for developers not in their employment?

I strongly urge you to reconsider the RAND proposal 
and NOT allow any patents, requiring commercial 
or pay-for licenses, into standards.

Geoff Wong
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 10:31:26 UTC

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