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

Innovation and incentive do not require patents

From: Jeremy Petzold <petzoldj@state.mi.us>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 11:11:37 -0400
Message-Id: <sbb9a0eb.066@state.mi.us>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
I am deeply disturbed by the patent policy proposal that as been placed in front of the W3C. I do not think that patented technology should belong in the W3C standards as it will lock out many people from developing software if those people can not afford to pay for licensing. 

A good working example of a group who relies on open and RF standards is the Open Source Software and Free (as in speech) software communities. many of these organizations that make up the Free and Open software community are not for profit and do not even bring in any donations. To impose a licensing fee on these groups in order to use new technology would be a death sentence for the organization and the community as a whole. While I am sure the W3C does not have the intention of causing such harm, a few of the members that make up this workgroup have such intentions and have publicly denounced the community. I therefore am a sceptic of the listed motivations that set this proposal into motion.

I have read some comments that patents are needed in order to create an incentive for new research and development, however, this is absolutely false. One need not look any farther than the Free and Open source software community to see this. Every day, new ideas and new ways of doing things are created and shared, this allows people to improve and build on the idea to create something even more fantastic and innovative. Another area that this can be seen is the scientific realm. Ideas are bounces back and forth between peers and are built upon to create working theories. In both cases, innovation is done for the pleasure and excitement, not for monetary gain. It is the free flow of information that makes innovation, not monetary incentive.

If people want to make money at an idea, then they should resort to patents and marketing, they should not submit their idea for standardization. standards belong to everyone.

Jeremy Petzold
Free software enthusiast and network administrator
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 11:12:15 UTC

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