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

RF comment

From: Carsten Svaneborg <svanebor@mpip-mainz.mpg.de>
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 11:23:30 +0100
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Message-Id: <E16g1F8-0001tz-00@alpha12b.mpip-mainz.mpg.de>

I'm very exited that W3 confirms it commitment to producing Royalty-Free
standards. RF standards are necessary if the web is to grow in the future
as it has in the past, by creating a commons on which people are free to
innovate, create, and share information. However, web membership and
rights to publish and share information should not be defined by the narrow
scope of commercial interests with their RAND-2001 newspeak, but should
be commons available to all people.

See L. Lessig's book http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/future/ for the
importance of commons in fostering innovation.

Regarding patents.

If it is not possible to create a standard that is Royalty-Free, then no
standard is to be preferred. The limitations imposed by RAND are not
acceptable, compared to the freedoms offered by RF.

However, given the size and patent portfolio of some of the W3 members,
an alternative could be optional crosslicencing of parts of the patent
portfolio owned by W3 members with that company, under a licence
that would allow a RF standard to be formulated. After all the W3
members would also benefit from the network effects, if a free standard
was broadly accepted and used on the net.

An alternative would be to sue the company for patent infringement.
The W3 members between them must have numerous patents that any
company would infringe as a basis of everyday business. For instance
IBM's patent on booting a computer (EP417888), this is an EPO patent
but it probably has a US counterpart. "We will allow you to boot your
computers without a licence from IBM, but then you have to allow this
web standard to be RF."

Yet another alternative would be publically announce the patent claims
and ask people (including W3 members) to search for prior art to
invalidate the patent. Given that most softwarepatents that are issued
today are trivial due to prior art, not found during the patent examination
process, it should be possible to avoid most patent claims by simply
invalidating the patent, a bounty could be given to the person who finds
the best example of prior art just as an incentive to professional 
patent busters.

  Mvh. Carsten Svaneborg
What patents did you infringe today?
Goto http://www.softwarepatenter.dk to find out!
Received on Wednesday, 27 February 2002 05:23:30 UTC

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