W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webpayments@w3.org > February 2013

Re: Mailing List Patent Policy

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2013 16:41:32 -0500
Message-ID: <510ED98C.7040202@openlinksw.com>
To: public-webpayments@w3.org
On 2/2/13 7:22 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:
> On 2/2/13 1:03 PM, Jeffrey Cliff wrote:
>> While I am new to this list, I think this post is dangerously
>> misguided.  If the problem is that the patent system is keeping groups
>> such as this from acheiving results, then groups like this one need to
>> be converted into anti-software patent, or at least
>> anti-these-particular-patent ones.
> I'm tending to agree with Jeff.
> I have an ancient history (circa 1990) of first getting my own patent, 
> and after that spending 3 years ghost-writing and illustrating others' 
> patents for a registered agent. My experiences with the patents I 
> worked on convinced me that the system was controlled by large 
> business and was grossly unfair to independent inventors. And I don't 
> know that this aspect has gotten any better in the software age; 
> perhaps worse.
> The day after reading Manu's post about not having discussions in 
> recordable mediums about patents relating to this open-source work I 
> caught myself having a daydream in which I applied for a patent whose 
> claims would allow me the rights to software that automates the 
> process employed by the US Patent Office. (And I think the patent 
> system is fast approaching such a reductio ad absurdum; perhaps it's 
> already there).
> OTOH, while as I said I do have a gut "Yeah!" with Jeff's approach, it 
> seems also that the patent problem can be filed under the major 
> problem that the USA is having with corporate control of democracy at 
> the moment. I saw a news clip with Al Gore last night in which he said 
> that essentially US democracy had been 'hacked' by large business. I 
> don't think he's the first to notice this, but his phrasing catches it 
> well for me. So fighting at just the level of the patent arm of the 
> system is fighting against a higher power that has a lot of 
> ammunition. The Occupy movement is essentially fighting the same 
> battle. And to win a war like this, we have to pick fights we can win.
> Yet, finally, things are changing in ways we can't predict, with 
> social media allowing new ways of organizing ourselves. Perhaps all we 
> can do is fall back on some basics: I'd go for 'love your neighbour as 
> yourself' and 'the end doesn't justify the means'.
> To me that would mean that if I felt strongly that the patent system 
> needed complete overhaul (or even abolishment), and this is a mailing 
> list developing patent-free, open-source technology, then discussing 
> all patents that might be infringed by the technology would seem like 
> a thing to be encouraged, rather than avoided.
> Needing to pretend publicly to not know about something that you in 
> fact need to discuss to do your work seems unhealthy to me; and 
> perhaps is unworkable anyway in a supposedly public mailing list.


Use the power of the Web to simplify the discovery of "prior art" :-)

> Steven Rowat
>> We /should/ be posting this stuff to email groups such as this - and
>> to make as recordable as possible its impacts.  Not because we think
>> we can work around it, /not/ because it's unenforcable (in any patent
>> case there is a probability that it may be enforced) but because
>> hiding from problems [ie in this case, Apple] only allows them to
>> perpetuate and grow, and implicitly grants them legitimacy.  The
>> businesses that are going to fail to participate due to this issue
>> will have an additional datapoint of organized groups [in this case, a
>> high profile one] which have been undermined by this problem, and
>> hence, more visible evidence that the problem needs solving at its core.
>> Jeff Cliff
>> On 31 January 2013 14:12, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com
>> <mailto:msporny@digitalbazaar.com>> wrote:
>>     On 01/31/2013 02:22 PM, Kumar McMillan wrote:
>>      >>
>> http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/31/apple-patents-crowdsourced-peer-to-peer-mobile-banking-that-could-use-itunes-to-provide-cash-on-demand/
>>      >> Can you believe this?
>>      >
>>      > As sad and depressing as this sounds, you shouldn't ever post
>>     patent
>>      >  announcements to an email list that might be associated with an
>>      > emerging protocol (such as what this w3c group aims for). Some 
>> info
>>      > on why:
>>      >
>>      >
>> http://www.radwin.org/michael/2003/02/28/why_discussing_patents_over_email_is_bad/
>>      >
>>      > I've done it before myself :(
>>     Having authored several patents by myself and having one of them
>>     granted
>>     before deciding that I never wanted to do that ever again, I have
>>     mixed
>>     feelings about this.
>>     Our (Digital Bazaar's) official company policy is that we don't 
>> e-mail
>>     around patents, no matter how ridiculous, they're always discussed
>>     in a
>>     channel that isn't logged.
>>     I also fear that the "head-in-the-sand" approach will hobble this
>>     group.
>>     We need to know about the patents that exist if we are to work 
>> around
>>     them for the Royalty-Free requirement of all W3C specs. The risk
>>     we run
>>     by doing that, however, is that large companies (like Yahoo, Google,
>>     Mozilla, etc.) might stay away from this work for that very 
>> reason. We
>>     don't want to risk that either.
>>     So, let's try this as a compromise. If you see a patent that is of
>>     interest, it is up to you if you want to notify any of the 
>> editors or
>>     mailing list participants OVER A NON-RECORDABLE MEDIUM. Just to be
>>     clear: Twitter, G+, Skype, IRC, are all recordable mediums. A
>>     phone call
>>     is best.
>>     Folks are free to ignore this advice on the mailing list, but know
>>     that
>>     by doing so, you're going to push some of the companies that are
>>     afraid
>>     of these sorts of damages away from participating in this group
>>     (and we
>>     really, really don't want to do that).
>>     -- manu
>>     --
>>     Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
>>     President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
>>     blog: Aaron Swartz, PaySwarm, and Academic Journals
>>     http://manu.sporny.org/2013/payswarm-journals/
>> -- 
>> GENERATION 26: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on
>> any forum and add 1 to the generation



Kingsley Idehen	
Founder & CEO
OpenLink Software
Company Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
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Received on Sunday, 3 February 2013 21:41:54 UTC

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