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

Reasons not to accept patents into standards

From: Matthew Boulos <matthewboulos@home.com>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 18:08:03 -0400
Message-ID: <000501c1510e$de3d0ee0$0200a8c0@rocky>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
To whom it may concern,

The decision, or the idea, to implement patented technologies into standards
forces developers into a position that has never existed during the
development of the internet. By having open and free standards, the internet
was truly a platform for everyone to build upon. Now, if patents are
implemented into standards, a significant portion of a very active
development population will be forced out of the process. Free software has
always depended on open standards, there is no other way such development
can be done practically. Also inherent is the fact that start-ups and
small-time developers will have this placed as a major obstacle before them.
This decision is very political, and no doubt it will be given due
consideration, but the decision has to be made whether the W3 wishes to
appease the demands of a significant and powerful few, or uphold its ideals
of an open working web.

On another, but very important, note. The W3 standards have always been
accepted because they were accessible. By limiting them with patents, the
standards will lose both their value and appeal. This opens the door to a
standards fork. I am not the first to mention this, but it deserves a second
mention. If fragmentation occurs, this will spell the doom for a good
portion of the joy developers have had in looking to a central repository to
draw their frameworks from. More importantly than the end of joy for
developers will be the diminished value of W3 itself. If there are competing
standards, then what does 'standard' mean anymore?

Please weigh these issues carefully. It will prove that the value contained
within the accepting of patents into standards will be negligible compared
to the disastrous possible side effects.

Yours truly,
Matthew Boulos
Received on Tuesday, 9 October 2001 18:08:13 UTC

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