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Comments on W3C Royalty-Free Patent Policy

From: Stephen Scherer <sscherer@rocketmail.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002 11:33:12 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <20021231193312.82049.qmail@web12507.mail.yahoo.com>
To: www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org

Dear W3 Consortium Members,

It has recently come to my attention, and the attention of others, that
the W3C Royalty-Free Patent Policy contains a problematic section (3.3)
that may encumber the implementation of standards-compliant Web-based
applications.  This problem is specifically related to the GPL, wherein
it is stated in Section 7 that:

"If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your
obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations,
then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all."

My reading of Section 3 of the W3C Royalty-Free Patent Policy suggests
that patents could be applied to Web-based software, restricting its
use to the Web alone.  It appears that this "field of use" restriction
could hamper the implementation of software that might otherwise
contribute to significant innovations.  This issue seems especially
relevant in consideration of the growing emphasis on Web-based
applications, or "Web services," that are becoming increasingly
important in commerce, education, entertainment, etc.

I believe that the W3C Royalty-Free Patent Policy is a tremendous step
in the right direction.  However, I also believe that Section 3 of that
document should be reconsidered in favor of less restrictive measures.


Stephen C. Scherer, Ed.D.

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Received on Thursday, 2 January 2003 11:05:34 UTC

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