Proposed W3C Change on Patent Policy

This is a short note (I have only heard of the proposal today -- the 
last day to comment) to register my serious concern on these proposed rules.

This is a major change in philosophy and intent of the W3C and urge 
rejection of this policy especially with the present time frame.

There is no consideration for not-for-profit use of the web standards 
which have been a critical contributor to the progress thus far and 
potentially a significant contributor in the future provided this 
box-out mechanism is not developed.  Clearly, not-for-profit (especially 
the 'freely available without charge' component) can not fund patent 
fees if they are contributing their work for use by others.   The 
'non-discriminatory' wording actually seems to preclude special 
treatment even if individual patent holders wished to pursue this.

Second, I would submit that the (at least the US) patent process is out 
of control and has allowed patenting of concepts, which in my opinion, 
that clearly don't meet earlier definitions and purposes of patents nor 
do they serve the public interest.  Between this, the world wide patent 
issues and the fact that this is a fundamental change in principle of 
the W3C, I urge W3C to continue its present rules even if that limits 
the available standards.

This change of charter clearly will reduce the stature of the W3C in 
many venues and while it may commoditize the Web, certain players 
including those who have contributed the original concepts which all of 
this is based and who continue to be a significant source of innovation 
are going to be excluded from participating in portions of what will be 
so-called open standards.

I urge the W3C to retreat from this plan and explore other ways that are 
inclusive of the academic and (free) open source communities.


David Green

(I am a Inst. Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering 
at UAB but the comments above are my own and both UAB & the E&CE 
Department do not necessarily agree with the above statements.)

Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 14:25:55 UTC