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Re: Restrictive Patent Usage

From: Dan Kegel <dank@kegel.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 11:28:19 -0800
Message-ID: <3DE51CD3.3020402@kegel.com>
To: tompoe@renonevada.net
CC: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

tompoe@renonevada.net wrote:
> Hello: Dan mentions the word "compromise" in his response regarding 
> restrictive uses of RF patents.  How very confusing this is. ...
> If this draft does not provide for RF [meaning without restrictions] 
> patent policy, then it does not deserve the title Royalty Free Patent 
> Policy.  What is the difference between a RF patent licensing policy 
> with restrictions of use, and the previous RAND policy with royalties? 

It's a pretty big difference, IMHO.  I am fairly sure that
(http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/w3c-patent.html notwithstanding)
it's ok to write GPL'd implementations of W3 standards under the new policy.
True, there would be restrictions on how that GPL code could be used,
but I can't see how that's totally incompatible with the GPL.

On the other hand, it might be worth considering an amendment to
the patent policy that made it clear that the W3C preferred
techniques which were either unpatented, or for which a worldwide,
no-royalty, unrestricted use license had been granted.
(That would, for example, tilt any possible future audio standard
towards the likes of Ogg Vorbis rather than MP3, even if the
Frauenhofer Institut granted a restricted-use RF license.)

 > There are compromises in
> politics, in commerce, but not in worldwide standards which provide the 
> foundation for engaging in "fields of use".

On the contrary - compromise is always possible.  As long as it's
the other guy compromising, anyway :-)

- Dan
Received on Wednesday, 27 November 2002 13:15:57 UTC

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