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

RAND: Misguided, Wrong

From: Shamim Mohamed <shamim@languid.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 19:08:42 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <15293.5674.433218.39242@libelle.languid.org>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
The proposal to allow "reasonable and non-discriminitory" patents into
W3C standards is misguided and ill-advised.

1) The current US Patent system - at least as applied to software - is
a sorry mess. Trivial patents, overlapping patents, invalid patents
all fill the register. 

2) Patents are by definition discriminatory. Can a group supporting
free software - say the Apache group - afford to pay patent fees?  Can
third-world institutions who can't afford to pay commercial software
license fees, and therefore must use free software, pay royalties?

3) There is absolutely NO reason to believe that "innovation" - that
favourite word of a certain behemoth in Redmond - will be stifled
without financial reward. I give you some examples of true innovation:
TCP/IP, SMTP, HTTP, HTML. Not a patent in sight. For a protocol to be
patented is like having a patented language: all who would speak that
language must pay royalties.

Let us not allow greed, avarice and marketing buzzwords like
"convergence" drive the poor out of what may be their only chance to
participate in the Web.

Shamim Mohamed, Ph.D., D.D.
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2001 22:08:44 UTC

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