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

The policy change with respect to patents (RAND)

From: Karl Trygve Kalleberg <karltk@prosalg.no>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 21:05:50 +0200
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <20010930210550.56e6f0dc.karltk@prosalg.no>

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a software researcher employed in a small company (20 employees) and the primary decision when it comes to technologies and standards.

I cannot fail to notice that the W3C is now changing its policy in a way that will a have dramatic on our company's decision-making process in the future.

Our company has always preferred to adhere to W3C standards with our products, primarily because these standards are royalty-free, widely-used and cross-platform.

The suggestion in "W3C Patent Policy Framework", especially section 7.1 where the requirements for disclosure is prohibitively lax, will force us to regard all future W3C standards as "off-limits" as they can result in future licensing costs with unknown economical impact.

This will in effect mean that small companies like us, with limited economical assets, cannot afford to adhere to any forthcoming W3C standards, and that we thus will be forced to either go for alternative standards issued by other standards bodies than W3C, or look for open and free "de facto" standards.


The "W3C Patent Policy Framework" will thus contribute to stifle much of the current innovation that is being done openly and freely on the Internet (XML, PNG, etc). It is improbable that standards such as HTML or XML would be ubiquitous if they were laden with royalties.

The mention in section 2.2 about the desire to keep standards in the "lower-layer infrastructure" open seems to create more problems than it solves. Who is to decide, and at which point (before ratifcation, in retrospect) whether a standard is low-level or now ? This suggestion does not give the appearance of credibility.


The credibility that W3C enjoys today, of being an objective and level-headed standards body will erode quickly as royalty claims are made apparent by the standards backers. Especially dubious is the fact that claims to royalty need not be (although should) disclosed before the standard is ratified.


Troubled regards,

Karl Trygve Kalleberg
Software Researcher
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 15:07:16 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 27 April 2010 00:13:39 GMT