RE: Patent Protections at CR

Here are some possible objections to having patent obligations at CR.  Short version of this is you would need so many changes to CR that you really are asking for a different type of "final" REC and you may be better off asking for that.

1. solves a hypothetical problem: Has anyone come to the W3C and said they'd like to implement a CR but are afraid of being sued by Members of the WG that has asked them to implement? 
   1a. patent licensing commitments happen shortly after First Public Draft and Last Call and the actual licensing obligation begins at REC.  So the hypothetical is a WG Member is already obligated to license as soon as the spec reaches REC, the member does not object to a call for implementation in CR, and then they sue someone who acts on that call for implementation and they prevail in court. 

2. reduces power of Member's Advisory Committee.  would force Members to grant licenses before the Advisory Committee and the W3C Director have approved the contents of the draft that WG Members would be obligated to license - the Advisory Committee participates in approving initial charters and Proposed Recommendations, not any draft before that.  This proposal diminishes the Advisory Committee (and Members) role in licensing.

3. would force Members to grant licenses before Formal Objections have been dealt with, including obligation to license for content the Member formally objects to.

4. would force Member to grant licenses for content that is removed before REC due to  implementation issues (like can't be implemented compatibly).

5. Would a 2 year timeout for the licensing obligation mean that for content removed from a draft before REC that products get recalled?  Stop shipping? 

6. Undermines the requirements for compatible implementations and compatibility testing.  If it's 2 years licensing at CR, what prevents taking it to a new CR every two years and never go to REC?   There is no licensing reward for completing a spec.  

7. Seems predicated on the notion of massive specs that are never stable because they are so large that something always does change.  That seems a packaging preference.  Those very large specs could consist of content from many smaller modular specs that do not take so many years to complete.  Changes then are localized in modules and the old content for all modules is already licensed.  Those who want large comprehensive specs or "living specs" that never complete could create them from the set of modules (and all the completed modules or the parts in previous versions of changing modules would already be licensed).

8. Community Groups(CG) seem to offer the possibility of relieving some of the concern.  In a CG there is a licensing commitment that starts at the time the Contribution is inserted in the developing Spec.  A WG could choose to do its technical work in a CG with the WG handling moving drafts along the W3C REC track, handing technical comments back to the CG.

Received on Friday, 18 November 2011 22:53:00 UTC