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

Response to the response to public comments

From: Jamie McCrindle <jamie@thecodecollective.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 22:13:14 +0100
Message-ID: <002801c14b87$0f25fae0$f7b883c2@BattyBoy>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
I've read the response to the response to the W3C patent policy framework and I'd like to raise the following points:

1. I agree that it is important that the W3C does have a patent policy, however, I believe that making recommendations that include RAND patents is very dangerous. It is there for "a procedure for launching new standards development activities as Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (RAND) Licensing Mode activities" that I disagree with.

2. The  draft cites the following as a consensus point: "Preservation of interoperability and global consensus on core Web infrastructure is of critical importance. So it is especially important that the Recommendations covering lower-layer infrastructure be implementable on an RF basis." 

What the draft does not explain is what constitutes core Web Infrastructure. Moreover, I'm not sure that it's possible to decide whether a technology will become core when the working group is formed. What is certain is that any member that does have a RAND patent in one of the recommendations will do their utmost to ensure that the recommendation _does_ become a core web technology. And who could fault them? They would just be implementing a W3C recommendation.

3. Besides the time factor, the P3P working group solved the problem correctly

The question is posed: "Does the patent policy represent a change in W3C licensing policy". As answered by the response, the answer has to be yes, since the W3C had no _stated_ patent licensing policy. However, the proposed patent policy does potentially represent a change in how patents could be dealt with in reality. In the P3P the new policy could well mean that a patent would have been incorporated with RAND licensing. I believe that the solution reached, i.e. a patent free (or RF) solution, was by far more preferable.

I do agree that it is better that the W3C has a patent policy and I believe that royalty free patents should be incorporated, that way those who would like to see technology incorporated into standards, could make the patents to ensure that they're not patented by anyone who would prefer they not become part of the standard.

In summary,

I wholeheartedly support the W3C's efforts to put together a patent policy, however, I am very concerned about the potential for abuse of the RAND licencing option by members. There is evidence of controls in the W3C patent policy proposal but I believe that they are too vague. Specifically, I believe that any corporation that did manage to get a RAND patent into a standard would do everything possible to ensure that it became a standard in everything that they did.
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 17:04:39 UTC

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