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

Patent Policy review

From: David Leslie <dleslie@bcs.org.uk>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 09:52:43 +0100
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Message-ID: <009301c14be8$c3cd6bc0$0100a8c0@dla1>
I have just read about this isue, and understand that the deadline for
public comment has been extended by a few days.

I appreciate w3's efforts to explain the background and their proposals. It
is a complex area, especially for a lay person like me, and I'm sure I don't
appreciate all the nuances, but I'll try to explain my concerns.

To my mind, the US Patent Office is now granting patents for trivial and
obvious "inventions" in the software sector (eg your document's remarks on
business method patents - suppose email had been patented as a business
process - see for instance

I am concerned that participants in standard making processes will not only
attempt to pull the standards in the direction of their existing patents,
but that they will base their "patent strategy" (your term) on simple,
intellectually obvious improvements or fine tuning to technology underlying
embryonic standards. I have the impression that in many cases the resources
going into securing patents significantly outweigh the intellectual effort
of the "invention".

I don't know if this is a situation beyond w3 control? Two suggestions that
might ameliorate things:
1) exclude 'design' patents (although your FAQ defines patents, it doesn't
seem to define design patents, even although it is a term you use)
2) strengthen the 'good faith' disclosure standards, and (if I understand
the proposals correctly) considerably reduce the response time so that new
patents trivially building on emerging standards can not be taken out.

David Leslie
Received on Wednesday, 3 October 2001 04:50:22 UTC

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