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

Against RAND

From: <pelegrin@labri.fr>
Date: Mon, 01 Oct 2001 00:42:04 +0200 (CEST)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <1001889724.3bb79fbcc069e@iona.labri.fr>
Cc: pelegrin@labri.fr

Dear Sirs/Madams,

I am assistant professor in computer science at
the ENSEIRB, University of Bordeaux. Two years
ago, I have been involved (almost by accident)
in the preparation of the first Libre Software
Meeting that happened in Bordeaux in July 2000.
At this time, with no predefined views on the
subject (as a trained engineer, I had considered
from far away that patents were useful things),
I began reading documentation and forging myself
an opinion on software patents.

My intimate conclusion is that, in the software
area, they are harmful for innovation and its
dissemination, and are used as bargaining tools
between big players, while putting high market
entry barriers for innovative SMEs (Small and
Medium-sized Enterprises) that cannot afford legal
disputes, even if they are right. I have tried
to gather and sort some info in a web page, so
please look at its "Economical study" section for
further readings:


You can also refer to http://swpat.ffii.org/ for
further, most interesting, references.

Considering that Web technologies are now a key
access for people to knowledge and education, and
considering the current harm of software patents
to innovation and libre software players, I urge
the W3C to propose only patent-free standards, and
not follow the insidious trend of RAND-style
standards, most probably proposed by some of its
large-player members (such as Microsoft and
Philips, I guess) which have made of software patents
an economical weapon to secure their respective
markets at their own, private, profit.

By following the dangerous trend of non-free standards,
the W3C would fail in its mission of public service for
the whole community, and would lose a great deal of
credibility and sympathy. In the long term, it would be
some sort of suicide. The origin of WWW was in the
free dissemination of knowledge, and it should be the
mission of W3C, forever.


Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 18:42:13 UTC

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