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

Dissent and comment

From: Mario D. Santana <mds@mariosantana.net>
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 11:47:28 -0700
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3c.org
Message-Id: <20010929184733.C462D2AA6A@dd.mariosantana.net>

Others have posted more lucid arguments than I can for dismissing or
largely rewriting the proposed policy. I would like here to lodge my
dissent and also respond to Gerry Lane's comment.

Mr. Lane said:

"The W3C Patent Policy Framwork proposal will never provide complete
certainty for specification developers and product implementers. We
should allow the technical experts to work unencumbered by complicated
rules and leave the patent issues for discussion outside of the
standards organizations."

The first statement seems to imply that the proposed policy would
provide more certainty than current practice. I disagree. Mr. Lane
mentions earlier that there will always be uncertainty regarding
patents held by non-W3C organizations. True enough -- those are
problems neither created nor addressable directly by the W3C. The
proposed policy, however, would add to that necessary uncertainty, the
unnecessary ones surrounding patents held by members.

There are many more non-member than member patent holders; however,
that this "small" addition of uncertainty will fuel scheming and
intrigue is evident in Mr. Lane's second statement above. I can only
speak for myself, but as a "technical expert," I would not like for my
work to be subject to "complicated rules" outside my control. More, I
am slightly insulted at Mr. Lane's subtle implication that these rules
are far enough beyond me that they would cripple my work.

By adopting the proposed policy, the W3C will show that it does not
consider patent issues a critical component of a technical
specification. A blanket policy that leaves the control of these
issues to interested parties is not the way to foster strong
cooperation -- certainly not among the non-member public,
patent-holding or otherwise.

The war for open standards is long and tiresome. But if you sacrifice
your ultimate goal in order to reach your immediate goal, you gain
nothing. Please consider dismissing this proposed policy, or
substantially rewriting it to promote openness in standards and their


Mario D. Santana <mds@mariosantana.net>
My claim is that it is possible to write /grand/ programs, /noble/
programs, truly /magnificent/ ones! -- Donald E. Knuth
Received on Saturday, 29 September 2001 14:47:58 UTC

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