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From: Rob Levin <levin@freenode.net>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2003 15:14:48 -0600 (CST)
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org
Cc: levin@freenode.net
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.52.0304031444330.16218@inexplicably.elided.info>

To the Working Group,

In my opinion, there remain serious problems with the draft policy.
Specifically, in "5. W3C Royalty-Free (RF) Licensing Requirements"
(http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/WD-patent-policy-20030319/#def-RF), the following

> 3. may be limited to implementations of the Recommendation, and to what is
>    required by the Recommendation;

> License term:
> 9. The RF license conforming to the requirements in this policy shall be
>    made available by the licensor as long as the Recommendation is in
>    effect. The term of such license shall be for the life of the patents
>    in question, subject to the limitations of 5(10).
> 10. If the Recommendation is rescinded by W3C, then no new licenses need
>     be granted but any licenses granted before the Recommendation was
>     rescinded shall remain in effect.

Clause 3 makes the use of patents covered by the policy problematic for many
free software projects.  Free software and open source applications are
frequently written to address whole suites of needs, and allowing the owner
of a patent to limit its use to a specific recommendation can only muddy the
waters at best.

Clauses 9 and 10 will create operational headaches for code reuse between
projects, making the use of patented material as covered by this policy a
real headache for free software and open source projects.

I hope these problems can be resolved in a way that will continue to make
the adoption of W3C standards attractive to the free software and open
source communities.  It would be a real shame if a problematic W3C patent
policies resulted in situations in which community-based projects would find
themselves having to develop and adopt separate standards.

I would strongly urge the committee to modify the wording to clearly and
specifically require that patents governed by the policy be offered in a
universally royalty-free fashion, without restriction by use or in term of

Sincerely yours,

Robert Levin
Received on Thursday, 3 April 2003 16:16:33 UTC

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