W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-restrictedmedia@w3.org > June 2014

A mistake to ignore the cost of patents

From: Dave Burstein <daveb@dslprime.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2014 20:43:42 -0400
Message-ID: <CAAUuzMR_RmuxTO7rHDzv1M+T_w3jPExVY+Jha72_f+0XCtTZxA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Karl Dubost <karl@la-grange.net>
Cc: Catherine Roy <ecrire@catherine-roy.net>, "public-restrictedmedia@w3.org" <public-restrictedmedia@w3.org>
Karl and others


    Many of us have come to believe that the current patent system is
broken. I see patent costs, especially as created by the U.S. "strong
patent" system a major obstacle to inexpensive equipment. There are numbers
floating around that patents could add 30-100% to the cost of a low end
smartphone; one of the reasons I don't know whether that's true is that
most organizations involved avoid this important topic.

   In addition, in my main gig reporting about broadband, again and again
I've seen high patent royalties seriously prevent or decimate competition.
So these are real issues.

   I'm not personally opposed to patent royalties, so long as they are
reasonable. The ITU, IEEE, ATIS and the other organizations I know in this
field all have a policy requiring "reasonable and non-discriminatory"
patent charges. But I've seen that become meaningless as all the
organizations refuse to do anything to enforce that rule. We've also all
seen obvious ideas become entangled in the patent system.

   In one case I know the details in full, VDSL chips cost 30-70% more than
they likely would if the relevant standards group hadn't refused to even
discuss an offer from those supporting one of the proposed standards (QAM)
to make all patents they owned royalty free.

   I believe the time has come to make discussion of the individual patents
and especially their royalty levels an important part of the debate.

   If those of us who believe royalties should be "reasonable" and only
accrue to "non-obvious" inventions spoke up more, maybe things would be

   Why am I wrong?

On Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 5:46 PM, Karl Dubost <karl@la-grange.net> wrote:

> Hi Catherine,
> (no drama, just a note)
> In general, we do not discuss specific patents on W3C mailing-lists,
> except if it has been brought up in the case of a Patent Advisory Group. It
> has possible consequences. Refrain to send and/or discuss about this one or
> any others in the future.
> --
> Karl Dubost 🐄
> http://www.la-grange.net/karl/

Editor, Fast Net News, Net Policy News and A Wireless Cloud
Author with Jennie Bourne  DSL (Wiley, 2002) and Web Video: Making It
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Received on Sunday, 22 June 2014 00:51:48 UTC

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