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Proposed RAND Licensing arrangements

From: Wally Pratt <wallyp@hartcomm.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 10:41:22 -0500
Message-ID: <3BC5BD91.B6297AB@hartcomm.org>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
I do not believe that RAND licensing is in the best interest of the W3C.

I am the Chief Engineer supporting an Open Communications Protocol and I have
first-hand experiences with these kinds of issues.  At the HART Communication
Foundation we fundamentally understand that requireing royalty payment on core
technology is contrary to the goals of any Open Protocol.

1.  The Foundation owns patents and does not charge royalties for their use.

2.  The Foundation has taken legal action against patents that restricted the
use of the Protocol.

3.  The Foundation has researched patentable technology enhancements.  Rather
then patenting the results we published them ensureing open access by placing
them in the public domain.

4.  All participants in Foundation working groups agree to assign any
intellectual property arising from their direct or indirect participation to the Foundation.


In the companies I have worked with patents are pursued (initially) to protect
themselves.  If they discover a neat trick they do not want to be prevented from
using that trick in their products.  Later, they may want to try to get paid for
the patent as well but, generally, that is not why they want to patent to start
with.  (OBTW there are about 140 companies in the Foundation).


A company can get a huge advantage if their patent becomes part of a W3C (or any
other) Open Protocol.  They get immediate sanctioning of their technology and
they are first to market.  Early entry into a market can provide huge financial
benefits.  The financial benefit of early market exploitation must be sufficient
reward for their patent.  

Consequently I do not believe RAND should be endorsed by the W3C.


Wally Pratt   (wallyp@hartcomm.org)
Chief Engineer
HART Communication Foundation
http://www.hartcomm.org
Received on Thursday, 11 October 2001 11:41:39 GMT

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