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RAND Comments

From: August Zajonc <augustz@augustz.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 02:08:49 -0700
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OJEJIPPNGKHEBGFEHPLMEELHCBAA.augustz@augustz.com>
In a medium which in some cases defines co-operation, why allow companies to
hijack that medium? I feel safe creating products which rely on standards
because I know no one will come after me for using them, or take over a
project that I work on.

As a business, the risk of using patented standards is very real, even with
RAND terms, because RAND is open to debate (aka litigation), and the cost of
litigation often means it's better to settle for not quite RAND than full
RAND. Open source recognizes that, and is unlikey to EVER start encumbering
software with even RAND terms.

Why does the W3C feel so powerless to simply require companies to disclose
and allow full and free use of any patented technologies they have? Is it
because these groups are mainly made UP of companies, who can't see the
forest for the individual money trees they all are hoping to grow? Is there
so little recongition in the idea of the common good, we all sacrifice a
little to win a lot?

And what quality are these patents? BT has patented hyperlinks after all,
Altavista claims almost all search technology. Symantic auto-updates from
web and the list goes on. Do we want to reward this crap?

How strongly will the W3C enforce terms? It's easy to squash litigation at
the root by dis-allowing RAND. No muss no fuss. But once the barn door is
open and companies are stampeding for the cash, is the W3C going to stand up
for developers to insure full RAND?

Finally, as a solution to endless discusion over patents, RAND seems like a
poor choice. A strong patent free record, and a commitment to future full
and free standards would seem to eliminate that area of debate more than
opening the door to the cash jackpot would. Why is there not more of a focus
on reducing the time spent on the legal BS angle rather than encouraging it
with RAND?

- August
Received on Friday, 12 October 2001 05:08:50 UTC

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