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

Upcoming Patent Policy

From: David Pendell <davidp25@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 13:20:47 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <20011002202047.89246.qmail@web13907.mail.yahoo.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
To Whom It May Concern:

I am an application developer. I have in many instances been called
upon to build n-tier business applications based on Internet
technologies. As a developer who uses Internet technologies I am very
concerned regarding the proposed change in policy to allow patented
technologies become part of the W3C standard.

Currently there are very few web technologies that are patented
(cascading style sheets being one). I am very concerned that if this
trend continues it will lead to an environment in which independent
contractors and small firms may have trouble competing with large
companies. Small companies and certainly independents would lose
business to larger firms due to the larger firm having a license to use
a technology that the small firm/independent lacks.

Also I have in dismay watched as corporate interests have eroded
technologies that were built on open standards and free exchange of
information. The Internet and related technologies have a proud
tradition of openness and freedom. Individuals are completely free to
use any ethical means to develop web sites and applications for fun and
profit. I fear that if corporate interests are allowed to continue
unchecked this proud heritage will disappear forever.

I am also an open source software enthusiast. I am greatly concerned
that if patents were allowed the amount of damage that could be done to
the open source community would be devastating. Many of the projects
that are used to power the Internet are developed by organizations and
individuals with little or no money to fund their efforts. These people
would be greatly hindered in their efforts to provide quality software
for free. With Netcraft showing that Apache is currently the leading
web server used on the Internet, I believe that the stakes are high.
Not to mention that Linux/*BSD is being used to power e-mail and ftp
servers worldwide.

I understand that part of this proposed policy change is to address the
problem of software patents. It has been stated that software patents
have been the cause of halted development of new web Internet
standards. Perhaps a more stringent set of requirements for submission
of a proposed standard needs to be adopted. Something that would
provide legal recourse in the event that a member of a standards
development team secretly patents a standard while it is being
developed. I am not a lawyer and I understand that this may be
simplistic, however I do not believe that the solution to the question
of software patents is to capitulate. In recent years there have been
many software patents that were either undeserved (the aforementioned
Cascading Style sheets patent being a candidate) or very questionable.
As I understand it this is not necessarily due to the increase in
software developments as much as it is a change in the Patent
Application process. From what I understand the amount of time to do
patent research has been severely limited in recent times. Please do
not contribute to the problem by allowing for these questionable
patents to become a part of the W3C standards.

As a Standards body you have a responsibility to provide a system of
checks and balances for open standard technologies. I feel that overall
you have done an excellent job in this role. Please do not allow
corporate pressures to sully this admirable record.

	David Pendell

David Pendell
Information Technology Consultant

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Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 16:20:48 UTC

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