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

Regarding the use of patented technologies in standards

From: Paul Lee <paul.lee@rottentomatoes.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Oct 2001 18:55:47 -0700
Message-ID: <04E1CB9C89835049BF9DDDF4720A4F10383B0F@mail.rottentomatoes.com>
To: "'www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org'" <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>

It is obvious the majority of member of the W3C have sold out to corporate
interests. I do not make this accusation lightly and the lame, pathetic
excuse put out by the W3C only seems to underscore this point. The W3C has
been effective in driving the growth of the Web primarily because
standards, once determined, were quickly accepted and adopted by virtually
everyone. With the existence of patented technologies in standards, this
will become pratically and legalistically impossible. 

Does anyone in the W3C believe that any corporate interest owning a patent
would allow other companies or the rest of the world to benefit from the
standard without paying through the nose? There will be suits, then
countersuits, then counter-countersuits as each player jockeys for a better
position. And in the end, the teams with the most lawyers will win. 

Despite not answering a forest of thorny questions about how patents will
be enforced, how payments will be handled, how much the payments are, how
to resolve disputes, what "nondiscriminatory" actually means in practical
and legal terms, the W3C in its effort to cater to corporate interests has
turned belly up for a pat on the head. "This is for the future" is an
entirely pathetic excuse.

I would like to imagine the W3C would be cognizent enough to realize that
there will be no winners (except the lawyers, who don't really care who
wins in the end) should this proposal be allowed to go forward. It is a
fantasy to think that all these corporations will, for the good of all,
drive the improvement of standards. There will be no new standards because
for every patented technology allowed in a standard will be years of legal
wrangling in the courts. Behind their promises of cooperation and disarming
smiles, these same patent-owners are ready to pounce on each other with
sharpened legalistic knives. But I'm sure that having sold the soul of the
W3C to these interests, the W3C mistakenly fantasizes that it will come
through unscathed in the process.

Sadly, the W3C, in its lame response to the firestorm of protest this
proposal has set off, does not realize it is taking the step to its own
irrelevancy. Cynically, I do not even know why I am writing this letter
because I do not have millions of dollars to devote towards fancy lobbying
and expensive discussions over dinner. No doubt, at the end of your call
for comments, you will act like any obtuse poltical body does - thank
everyone for their interest and comments, and then proceed forward with a
decision you have already made. I don't buy your cynical attempt at
democracy one bit, although I would be more than happy to be proved wrong. 

Alas, this is a sad time, when against the weight of all reason and common
sense, an important organization such as the W3C has sold itself to the
corporate devil.

Thanks, but no thanks,

Paul Lee
Received on Friday, 5 October 2001 18:48:44 UTC

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