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

Request for clarification on specifics and agenda

From: Steve Cox <stevec@canaries.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 23:09:17 +0100
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20011002230916.A1799@linuxhost.localdomain>
I would request some clarification of a few points from the RAND

1. With regard to the definition of the principles:

> "may be conditioned on payment of reasonable, non-discriminatory
> royalties or fees"

What is deemed to be 'non-discriminatory'? Such a term could be
interpretted differently. Any incorporating development which can be
licenced or sold itself would not be too concerned with relatively lower
licensing costs for component technologies. However, open source / free / 
non-licensed software would incur costs it could not - by the
development's description - hope or even want to recoup. It appears that
this principle is financially biased against open source development -
let alone it's ideals.

2. In the opening paragraph of both the background documentation and the
FAQ - the terms: "entrepreneurial energy" and "competitive forces" give
the documentation a feel of corporate 'spin' speak. I'm sure you did not
intend the items to read like sales brochures?

3. With ongoing devlopment of new technolgies and protocols using the 
Internet appearing to abandon the 'open' nature of the oringinal 
infrastructure, is there a need to compound this turn-about by allowing
such to happen to the WWW? By reading the documentation, it appears that
the authors themselves fail to see the difference between the 'web' and
the underlying Internet. Surely, by continuing to ensure the WWW remains
open and well defined, it will remain one of the predominent Internet
technologies (together with email) rather than just being one of many
corporate interest defined communication methods?

4. You define European patents - but you must be aware that the legality
of software patents specifically in Europe is not yet agreed?

5. RAND does not simplify patent concerns - not unless you treat
development in a US-centric view - or in terms of any other nation state
for that matter. Any development can only conform to patent law of the
country developed in - until it is distributed whereby it can come under 
the concern of the patent law of other countries. This does not simplify
the issue of non-disclosed patents at all. Surely, if simplicity is the
goal, the use of non-patented design would be best?

Finally, I have to agree with the other 'Cox' in that if the W3C follows
this proposition, it must surely be heading towards it's own
irrelevence. Some may argue that by not using Patent controlled
devlopment, it may become an irrelavence anyway - but surely a noble
death is better than a celebrated one? 


Steve Cox
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2001 18:09:12 UTC

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