Comments on proposed W3 patent policy

Since I have not had time to determine whether this reflects my
employer's views, this reflects my personal views.

1) In the license mode decision, there should be a clear examination
   of the third alternative of having no standard rather than a RAND
   licensed standard.  This decision should be publicly documented and
   voted.  This decision should examine and evaluate the harm done,
   not just the benefit of having a standard.  The harm done by an
   RAND standard is not merely the difficulty that it poses to
   educational use, research, charitable, and open source activities.
   It also strongly discourages further research and development into
   alternative approaches that might be available on an RF basis.
   The procedure for deciding whether the harm done by an RAND
   standard is less than the harm from having no standard should also
   reflect in a reasonable manner the inherent biases and problems
   introduced when the voting members represent groups that would
   benefit from license fees, etc.

2) In any standard, the exact patent numbers and claim numbers should
   be identified.  It is very difficult to deal with standards when
   the standard merely lists 30 companies and states that these 30
   companies believe that they have one or more applicable patents.
   It becomes a substantial legal cost to even identify what the RAND
   terms will be.  Where patents have been issued, it should be easy
   for the patent owners to identify and list the relevant patents and
   disclaim any coverage from other patents.

3) Under 8.1, the default assumption should be that any patents will
   be licensed under the terms of the proposed standard.  This should
   not become a means to convert an RF into an RAND.  If a member has
   a patent applicable to an RF standard and does not wish to issue RF
   licenses, this should re-open the entire discussion of whether the
   standard should exist.

R Horn

Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 13:01:17 UTC