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

Bad bad bad idea

From: David Thede <thede@dtsearch.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 14:24:31 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
As many others have pointed out, this is a terrible idea that will burden 
open source development and provide a small number of patent-holding 
corporations with the power to extort unearned revenues and to limit 
software development for the web.   The "RAND" concept is nothing more than 
a thin pretext for the authors of this abuse to hide behind.

What is the burning need that makes this outcome so necessary?  Is there 
some crucial patented technology that will make the web so much better than 
it is today?  No, it is just organizations that have been entrusted with 
the power to make standards abusing that power for their own 
benefit.   Who?  This list of authors is instructive:

Michele Herman, Microsoft, micheleh@microsoft.com
Scott Peterson, Hewlett-Packard, scott_k_peterson@hp.com
Tony Piotrowski, Philips, tony.piotrowski@philips.com
Barry Rein, Pennie & Edmonds (for W3C), barry@pennie.com
Daniel Weitzner, W3C/MIT, djweitzner@w3.org
Helene Plotka Workman, Apple Computer, plotka@apple.com

The Unisys/GIF experience tells us all we need to know about the value of 
patents in web standards.   This is not about innovation, is about 
monopolization and legal trickery.

Open source software and free and open standards are the foundation of the 
web.  A W3C that abandons this foundation to help a few corporations obtain 
private advantage will only make itself irrelevant.

Finally, if the W3C decides to ignore the overwhelming majority of the 
comments and proceed with this, here is another suggestion:  Each 
participating organization should have a good law firm review those 
reassuring commitments in the policy to see just how binding they will 
really be.   I doubt that Apple and HP have a clue what they are getting 
themselves into here, and it would not be surprising if one of the 
participants has given much more thought to the legal technicalities than 
the others.

David Thede
dtSearch Corp.
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 14:24:38 UTC

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