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

Re: We must fork the SVG standard (was: SVGA 1.0 uses RAND -> DO NOT ! implement it, DO NOT ! use it)

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2001 15:58:34 +0200
Message-ID: <3BBDBC8A.CF681041@w3.org>
To: Daniel Phillips <phillips@bonn-fries.net>
CC: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

Daniel Phillips wrote:
> On October 5, 2001 02:41 pm, Chris Lilley wrote:
> > Daniel Phillips wrote:
> > > On October 4, 2001 02:00 pm, Chris Lilley wrote:
> > > > > Interestingly, the timing of the SVG 1.0 release seems to be closely
> > > > > correlated with the proposed change to W3C's patent policy currently
> > > > > being discussed.
> > > >
> > > > Yes. We were indeed beta testing the patent policy before it was
> > > > publically released.
> > >
> > > But the fact remains that the SVG standard was formalized before the
> > > patent policy on which it relies was formally adopted.
> >
> > Yes. Thats what 'beta testing' means.
> So, you are saying that this was a "beta acceptance" of the SVG standard, 

No, it was beta testing of the PPF. The technical content of SVG was
well out of beta at that point.

> to
> see what would happen?  Well, now you know.  The SVG recommendation should be
> withdrawn, improved to avoid patent encumbrances, then resubmitted.

So, you are taking the position that the patent claims are valid and
apply to SVG? Is that based on an analysis of their technical content,
or justa gut feeling, or an assumption that all claims are valid claims,
or what?

That is your perogative, and why we make the claims available. Other
technical commentators, whose knowledge of computer graphics I respect,
are more dubious about the applicability of these patents.

> This is much like fixing a bug, something that you must be prepared to do in
> a beta program.

OK but lets be clear what was in beta here - the PPF.

> > >  You have not explained why
> > > the SVG standard acceptance could not have been delayed until the patent
> > > policy revision was completed.
> >
> > Because the delay would have been pountless and because it was better to
> > list known patent clzaims than to pretend that patents do not exist and
> > to sit there hoping. By calling for known patents to be disclosed, it
> > makes the legal case against any patents that WG members 'forgot' do
> > disclose considerably stronger.
> Remember, the issue is whether the standard should have been encumbered with
> RAND licensing. 

Encumbrance is something that happens with patents, not with licensing.

>  You could have called for known patents to be disclosed,
> just as you did, while at the same time, insisting on RF licensing.

We did call for known patents to be disclosed and we did express a
strong preference for RF licensing.

> > >  Having jumped the gun, you created the
> > > impression of surreptitious intent.
> >
> > Only to minds that wish to think that way.
> Granted, but that's bound to be a significant number of minds isn't it?  It
> would have been better to avoid creating the impression.

I agree that if many people think there was an intent to decieve then
that is a problem regardless of the actual intent.

> > > > > So, the SVG standard was formalized and includes RAND licencing
> > > > > arrangements even though RAND licencing was not an official W3C
> > > > > policy at the time.
> >
> > Nor was RF an official policy at that time, which you seem to want to
> > gloss over. The official policy did not exist. There was no restriction
> > at all in place on what licensess could be asked for.
> Now you are getting at the core issue.  RF *should* be the official policy,
> as has been stated by others on this list.  Only minor changes would be
> required to enshrine that policy in the PPF recommendation.

I encourage you to sugest specific alternative wording and to post it to
this list.

> > > A patent-encumbered internet standard is far worse for
> > > the public than no standard at all.
> >
> > That is why it is important to flush out such patents and to call for
> > them to be disclosed upfront rather than being surprised five or ten
> > years later.
> Yes, absolutely agreed.

Good. We seem to be converging on agreement here.

> > > A patent-encumbered internet standard enshrines the right of a patent
> > > holder to charge a toll on the internet.  It is much better to write a
> > > new standard that is not encumbered by patents, and it must be the
> > > responsibility of the W3C to do exactly that.  You appear to be trying
> > > to evade that responsibility.
> >
> > I appreciate that for those who like to think in simplistic terms, it is
> > much more comforting to believe that. That is why you consistently
> > ignore all references to RF in the PPF and instead make out that W3C is
> > trying to force everyone to go RAND. I appreciate that makes a better
> > story.
> It is not just a story.  It is an issue that affects every user of the web.
> Yes, any move towards RF is good. 

OK, thanks for acknowledging that.

>  Conversely, any move towards RAND is bad,
> and sorry, but with my simplistic way of thinking, this issue is clearcut.

So if you can't get RF from someone you would rather have nothing at
all  - ok, fine. I would rather have RAND than nothing at all, because I
have seen what 'nothing at all' can mean in practice.

> > Naturally we are in fact attempting to do the opposite - to make clesar
> > what patent claims have been made so that the developer comunity is
> > aware of them and can judge their relevance, and naturally you will not
> > agree because you want a handy target to demonize.
> Oh no, but I do agree with the goal of identifying patent claims.  I do not
> agree with the proposed RAND licensing policy.
> Can we please get through this phase of confrontation and start fixing it?

I believe that we are doing just that. I thank you for being
significantly clearer in this mail in terms of exactly what you are

Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 09:58:47 UTC

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