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

Allowing patents in software standards is a mistake

From: Curtis Galloway <curtisg@curtisg.net>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 12:23:44 -0700 (PDT)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <1001877824.3bb7714087fe7@curtisg.net>
Having patented technology as a part of a hardware standard is reasonable.  
Hardware costs money to produce, so having a small component of the cost going 
towards patent royalties is not a significant impediment to adoption of a 
standard.

Software, however, is not the same as hardware.  Much high-quality software is 
given away for free.  And we have seen companies behave badly with licensing 
terms for software patents.  (Think of the GIF image format.)

Imaging having to charge to distribute a reference implmentation of a W3C 
standard.  Imagine Mozilla being forced to pay royalties on every copy of a web 
browser that was downloaded.

The result would be either the end of free standards-compliant software, or the 
end of the relevancy of W3C standards.  Either result is bad.

Please, keep software patents out of W3C standards.

--Curtis Galloway
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 15:23:49 GMT

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