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Comment on RAND

From: Bryan McCormick <bryanm@i-2000.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 17:56:34 -0400
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>
The RAND as proposed by the W3C is completely unacceptable. By forcing
developers into a position where fees need to be paid to implement
standards, you are de facto securing rights for committee companies that
will benefit most from such a situation.

What do I mean by this? To spell it out, small developers have been
painfully aware of the huge influence that Microsoft is already wielding
outside of a supposed disinterested body that proposes open standards.

Since Microsoft is a controlling influence on almost every W3C committee it
is hard to imagine how forcing developers to pay for W3C so-called open
standards is anything less than paying a license fee to Microsoft. At best,
RAND would potentially force developers into compliance with patents that
likely originated from inside Microsoft itself, thereby forcing developers
to accept Microsoft patent claims in the guise of W3C claims. Clearly even
the possibility of such a thing happening flies in the face of legislation
currently pending against the company prohibiting just such heavy-handed

Even without the contagion effect from Microsoft's participation, the very
notion of the W3C being an enforcer of patents as opposed to an arbiter of
Open Standards limits any likely role it might have in defining future web
practices. Developers who cannot or will not embrace these patents, and that
would be anyone in the Open Source movement, would effectively be forced
into non-compliance. This would result in the potential death or
extinguishing of Open Source, or, at best a balkanization of the Web in ways
we cannot imagine as helpful.

In summary, RAND would:

- give de facto patent protection to Microsoft and other "outsized"
influencers of various W3C committees
- provide de facto license fees back to "outsized" influencers of various
W3C committees
- potentially eliminate the prospect of Open Source authors being able to
build applications for the patent-protected Web
- force a bifurcation or balkanization of the Web which cannot be helpful to
- eliminate choice in regards electing to support W3C standards
- effectively allow Microsoft to skirt court mandated behavioral remedies in
the guise of being an influencer of a so-called steward of standards, as
opposed to an enforcement and collection arm for Microsoft or outsized"
influencer companies.

The fact that no extension of the ability to comment on RAND in light of the
events of 9.11.01 is unconscionable. This alone should be held up as an
example of committee railroading. Behavior of this sort is unacceptable and
if it is typical of what is to come, well, it's frightening in its


Bryan McCormick
Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 17:56:54 UTC

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