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

standards require RF

From: <Gemeinnutz@LuftHans.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 03:50:23 -0700 (MST)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0110110333420.544-100000@spliff.LuftHans.com>
moin, moin,

Stamdards limiting their implementation via licensing limitations
aren't standards. Section 4.(e).5 of the "W3C Patent Policy
Framework W3C Working Draft 16 August 2001", as published at
http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-patent-policy-20010816/, states patent
licenses "may be conditioned on payment of reasonable, non-discriminatory
royalties or fees". Fees for use or implementation are categorically
discriminatory. They require extra burdens for one group to use the
standard, while permitting others to skip those extra burdons. They allow
the patent holders to extort others.

Standards that aren't freely implementable are not standards. It is not
improper to demand that patent holders wishing to have their patents used
in standards make those patents available on a royalty free, RF, basis. The
standards bodies must refuse to adopt or promote "standards" that are
tainted by a non-RF patent license.

That doesn't mean patent holders lose all rights when technology they've
patented comes up for use in a standard. In fact, standards bodies have an
obligation to investigate and avoid patented technology that isn't RF. The
draft also appropriately addresses some issues such as how section 8.3
describes the term of the license granted the W3C. It is appropriate that
if the Proposed Recommendation does not get approved in a suitable time
that the licensor can revoke the license. It is also appropriate that if a
Recommendation is revoked for some reason prior licensing still holds ( to
protect those who've already implemented the Recommendation ), but that the
licensor is not obligated to further licensing in the future.

It is also appropriate that a patent holder be permitted to refuse to allow
their patent to be used RF. At that point the W3C needs to make sure not to
include that patent in standards. There will be more and more clashes as 
companies start to pursue patents in Internet technologies. That will make
open, RF standards even more important.

The W3C's duty as evinced by it's own documentation is "to lead the World
Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote
its evolution and ensure its interoperability".  Common protocols for
evolution and interoperability require RF protocols. The W3C's mission 
statement as well as it's goal of "universal access" are further evidence 
that the W3C's charter requires RF standards.

The Internet and the World Wide Web were built on open, implementable RF
standards. The W3C has had direct experience with non-standard standards due
to all the browser "standards". These are still the bane of Web developers

At the same time there are certanly more html pages than proprietary format
documents even though html is "harder" and relatively new. There is more
data interchange ( communication ) via html than previously possible with
all the format incompatabilities ( word, word perfect, etc. ). One of the
major reasons was open, publicly implementable, RF standards.

The W3C must use it's influence to require open, freely implementable
standards not to support closed, discriminatory standards. There needs to be
only one licensing mode for W3C working committees, namely RF.

Changing membership requirements such that W3C members must disclose patents
relevant to proposed standards is great. The W3C needs that to help keep
it from being bushwhacked, so section 7 is a good idea. Maybe the PAG
mechanism of section 6 should be maintained, but it's charter changed to be
for helping solve issues when an unknown patent is discovered late in the
standardization process.

Change RAND to RF in section 8. It's important to allow member firms to
refuse to allow their patented technology to be used in an RF manner. The
W3C must then refuse to allow a standard to be dependent on that
technology. It's also important to maintain section 8.3 to protect the
licensor's options.

Please protect the standards, the ability of Free Software developers and
small companies to produce software compatable with the standards, the W3C's
credibility and the Web itself by demanding the W3C adopt only RF standards.


# der.hans@LuftHans.com home.pages.de/~lufthans/ www.DevelopOnline.com
#  Knowledge is useless unless it's shared. - der.hans
Received on Thursday, 11 October 2001 06:42:57 UTC

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