W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org > December 2002

Prohibition of "field of use" restrictions on contributed patents

From: Richard Michael <rmichael@fields.utoronto.ca>
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 23:03:17 -0500
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-ID: <20021230230317.B20109@lpc36.fields.utoronto.ca>

To whom it may concern,

I would like to add my voice to those that have already objected to the
allowance of a "field of use" restriction on patents that are contributed 
to new Web standards.

As a user of a great deal of Free Software, I am concerned that this
limitation of a patent's implementation will certainly hinder or possibly 
prevent the liberal licensing (GPL, et al.) of future Free Software 

On many occasions, I have stressed to newcomers on the Internet, web
developers, co-workers and friends that the incredible advantages provided 
by access to the Internet are dependent on the freedom of all people
(regardless of geographic location, physical ability, financial means,
ethnicity, etc.) to be able to freely participate.  For these advantages 
to be maintained, the standard protocols that comprise the Web and 
the information contained therein must remain free from the burden of
control and influence by special interest groups.

Please consider how our software (and thus, social) history might be 
different if a patent limitation such as this had dominated the
early years of computing development.

Please also consider the very practical fact that the US Patent Office 
seems to have been ridiculously indiscriminate with their granting of 
patents in a number of recent cases.  With patents being less scrutinized 
for sensible merit, the potential to abuse the W3's Royalty Free Patent 
Policy will become a very serious matter.

For your reference, you will find the Free Software Foundation's outline of 
their objection to the proposed "field of use" patent policy here:

Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation and compliments to everyone
at the consortium.  I frequently use and recommend the documentation and 
software tools provided on your website and am always thankful that a
definitive and clear source exists for the material.

Richard Michael
Computer Systems Administrator
The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences
222 College Street, Toronto, Canada.  (416) 348-9710 x.3038

(The views expressed in this email are, of course, my own and should not
be taken to be those of my employer.)
Received on Monday, 30 December 2002 23:03:19 UTC

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