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Opposition to the incorporation of licensed technology- an example from the Airlines

From: Justin Seiferth <seiferth@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001 18:08:10 -0400
Message-ID: <3BBCDDCA.9020904@yahoo.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
I am a member of the general committee of a large and long lasting 
standards body associated with avionics for commercial aircraft. 
Periodically, the business managers of participating organizations will 
introduce technology into the standards process which has an associated 
licensing arrangement. These introductions are always immediately and 
resoundingly rejected by the voting members of the general commitee- 
myself included.

Aside the from the conflict of interest problems inherent with the 
possibility of voting members or subcommitee chairs receiving favors 
from sponsoring organizations or the political conflicts which would 
develop were such proposals to go unchallenged, we also worried about 
the stifling effect on innovation such an arrangement would impose.

How would small companies break into a market whose entry barriers were 
gradually raised through the widespread introduction of proprietary 
licensing arrangements? Why should the friction of legal arrangements be 
added to the already difficult problems of developing consensus within 
the standards body? What is a "standard" which incorporates technologies 
not available to all?

These are difficult questions and ones whose answers only indicate the 
surface of the problems which might develop. Further, there is no 
benefit to the consumer or members of the consortium. Communication and 
cooperation is reduced as members would stiffle communications which 
might reveal the potential for licensing arrangements if other members 
became aware of technology before licensing and the standards 
discussions would begin far to late in the product cycle for up to date 
equipment to be fielded in a timely fashion. It invites members of the 
organization to appropriate community ideas and claim intellectual 
property rights on community property forcing the organization to 
abandon previous agreements or challenge the claim in court.

I hope you will take a page from the lessons we have learned and 
summarily reject the notion that any licensed or proprietary technology 
be admitted to standards of any sort. To do otherwise is the abandon any 
goodwill or moral perogative a standards body may have and throw away 
all the benefits of your prior work. It would mean the beginning of the 
end for your organization.

Justin Seiferth
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2001 18:08:31 UTC

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