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Comment - Patent

From: Gary Allen Vollink <Gary.Vollink@CorVu.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 16:10:23 -0500 (CDT)
Message-ID: <3766.208.205.177.13.1050527423.squirrel@webmail.corvu.com>
To: <www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org>

I would like to make a comment about the addition of Patented processes
within the W3C standards:

 http://www.w3.org/TR/2003/WD-patent-policy-20030319/#sec-Requirements

It is imperative that any software provider be able to impliment software
that uses any Standard under whatever license terms they require.  Royalty
Free and Reciprocal license comes close, but falls short.

A "royalty-free" license is still a license, and still can impose terms of
use.  Under your language it would be possible for a standard to be
accepted by your organization, but conform to rules that require that the
process not be modified in any way. (stifling creative extensions of the
standards).

Imagine, if you would, that HTML 4.0 were Patented under non-modification
terms.  Every attempt to extend the standard tags would have to be
submitted to the Patent holder for the Patent holder to choose to
impliment the extension within their Patented product, or to ignore the
extension - effectively leaving your organization with the single purpose
of approving or disapproving a standard from individual Patent holders. 
What if XML were owned by someone else?  XHTML could not have been.

The scenario gets worse when a proposed extension may eliminate the need
for a proprietary product that the patent holder commercially sells.  It
could be illegal to modify the Patented procedure and use it in a "proof
of concept" product or even independantly submitted to the W3C for review.

This may seem unlikely, but unless language excludes such a possibility,
then each "Patent" standard will become no better than a proprietary
solution.  Free to use, perhaps - but incapable of improvement.

The idea that everyone needs input to ever-changing standards is why the
W3C organization exists in the first place.  This language would eliminate
your orgainzations forward purpose.

Thank you,
Gary Allen Vollink
Information Technology Manager and Independant Developer
CorVu North America, Inc.
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2003 17:12:24 GMT

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