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

Patent Policy

From: torsten <thoward@ecel.ufl.edu>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 11:53:42 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.21.0110021137400.362-100000@gogo.ecel.ufl.edu>
Dear Sir or Madame:

I am writing in response to your extended request for comments on
including patent encumbered standards in W3C policy.  I am entirely
opposed to such policy.

I am currently a second-year senior double majoring in Computer
Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of Florida in
Gainesville, FL.  I have been involved with computers since the early
1980's, and have experienced every step of computer evolution and
technology.  It is the fascination which has taken me to my current
studies of Digital Design, IC technology, and extensive Mathematics.

We must first consider if patents are currently allowed and used in
today's web technology.  The answer is, of course, yes.  Patented
technology can compete side-by-side with free or "open
source" software.  The standards of the web as they currently exist allow
anyone to implement a standard API with any technology they choose.  The
natural process of selection has developed such that virtually the entire
internet runs from free software - the conclusion is that patented and
expensive technologies will not better the web, because it is difficult to
improve a very solid and working system.

Second, we must consider the extent of the standards.  Patents are
lawyer-enforced. We are all aware that patents are now being issued for
"ideas" rather than the original focus of specific developments.  The
patenting and copyright concert control of "ideas" has led to the new
concept of "Intellectual Property." Most of the world today does not
recognize the ownership of ideas as in the United States, and most of the
world does not conform to US patent law, especially in regards to software
patents.  Using patented technology in today's standards processes will
hinder development of technologies in the US while leaving much of the
world free to innovate and perhaps even usurp new web technologies.  The
internet and web standards are a great equalizer - let everyone compete on
even footing.  Accepting patented technologies will hand control to
specific companies, and lock out the "little guy."

Finally, we must ask ourselves if the web has been thus far hindered in
development by the lack of patented standards.  It has already been
determined that the internet provides more functionality, more freedom,
global buying and selling, eased communications, and at a cost far less
than ever before - I believe that this phenomenal development in faculties
has accelerated at a pace never before seen because, for once, no one
company is in control of the direction of the web standards.

It is no wonder that free software dominates the standards - it's free, it
works, and there are many implementations, both commerical and free, that
are competing today.  Commercial proprietary technologies and companies
have failed to provide consistent usability, API information, and an
overall better choice than open non-patented standards.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to see a future level playing field.

Torsten Howard
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 11:53:44 UTC

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