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RAND Patent Policy - Against

From: davis <davis@ameritech.net>
Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 13:08:12 -0400
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <01100813081200.01914@localhost.localdomain>
	I view the proposed RAND Patent Policy draft with much fear.  I am proud of 
the work to date of the W3C in providing protocols that alow open and free 
competition and inovation.  It is important that core technologies for 
communications remain as open as posible.  I regret that by the nature of 
computers the market forces tend toward monopoly.  Without strong open (free) 
standards for data exchange and interoperability there will be no chance of 
change in this situation.
	The proposal has a few intereseting statments that cannot be enforced with 
the proposed RAND model. The statement "Importance of interoperability for 
core infrastructure, lower down the stack: Preservation of interoperability 
and global consensus on core Web infrastructure is of critical importance. So 
it is especially important that the Recommendations covering lower-layer 
infrastructure be implementable on an RF basis. Recommendations addressing 
higher-level services toward the application layer may have a higher 
tolerance for RAND terms." does not define the scope of "core Web 
infrastructure" which certainly will vary with time.  Currently voice 
technology could be concidered non-core but in the future due to technology 
growth it will be a core components in the future.  The issue is that "core" 
is a dynamic  domain and cannot be defined.
	Another issues stated as a goal is "Access for general public (not just 
Members): Licensing terms for essential technology should be available on a 
non-discriminatory basis to W3C Members and non-Members alike."  How do you 
define or enforce a non-discriminatory  liencens.  Clearly any licence that 
charges a rolaty or fee is disciminatory by it's very nature.
	I relaise that this polecy is an attempt to pay for the work of developing 
standards and technology.  Some patent issues should be addressed but the web 
is far to new to begine endorceing patents by including them in standards.  
As a minimum a resonable time limt for RAND licensing could be invoced where 
the technologies would become royalty free after 3 years.  This would give 
companies time to recoup investments and gain a comercial advantage while 
still allowing freedom for smaller buisinesses and the free software movement.

Douglas L. Davis Ph.D.
Received on Monday, 8 October 2001 13:16:44 GMT

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