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Patent and Standards

From: Daniel Boos <boos@trash.net>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 23:23:18 +0200
Message-Id: <200109302124.f8ULOEB82931@ddba033.netstream.ch>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Hello,

I partly disagree with your patent policy. I just want to stress out some 
reasons, why you should be extremely cautious facing the issue of patents.

First of all an included patent in standard is a Trojan Horse. Where do you 
know that the holder of the patent does not change his policy? What happens 
if he changed his mind or even the company changed the owner and this owner 
changes his mind? The future of a patent holder is always unsure... Remember 
the case of Unysis and the Patent for LZW ( 
http://www.cloanto.com/users/mcb/19950127giflzw.html). 

Many companies will be interested that there patent will be included in to a 
standard. It is a good and easy way to ensure that everybody is using your 
patent and getting money for it. So companies are interested that there 
patents will be used. It is not in there interest, that the best standard 
will succeed. No it is in there interest to get money for their patents. So 
they or their employees will propose their patents and not the best 
solutions. So this works against getting a good standard.

Different worldwide standards of patent policy. At the moment for example 
there is still a major difference in patentability in software in Europe and 
the United States. In Europe it is not clear if software will be patented or 
not. So maybe your concept of equal access could not be granted, because 
there are different national laws toward patents. Some more in favor for 
patents holders , some more in favor of open source developers etc. Before 
there is no standard you cannot succeed with your policy. You cannot be sure 
if TRIPS really will be implemented.

If you still think about including patents in standards, please include the  
following rules: 

- A patent in question should not be required for compliance with a 
recommendation.

- Always search an alternative. There are always some alternatives and 
sometimes you have to make unpopular decision to keep out a patent.

- No royalties for patents if the patent is just used for implementing the 
standard.

- No royalties for patents for Open Source Software.


I think there are many other arguments against a to friendly policy towards 
patents. You should really consider them. 

Best regards

Daniel Boos
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 17:23:56 GMT

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