W3C Patent Policy Framework - bad move


Interesting the "fast-tracking" and "stealth-mode" of this proposal. I 
don't have a lot of time as I only just saw the posting on slashdot, but 
a few points :

    * "the jointly-developed standard can only be implemented by meeting
      licensing terms that are unduly burdensome" - but your policy
      seems to open the door for burdensome agreements
    * "reasonable, non-discriminatory (RAND)" - same as above, looks
      like your process may be open to the excact opposite of what you
    * "A number of standards bodies including W3C, ..., have encountered
      potential barriers to acceptance of standards" - yes, and I think
      acceptance of your standards may be increasingly difficult,
      leaving the "space" ready for a more "open" standards body.
    * "One patent licensing framework may not be appropriate to every
      W3C Working Group" - so in other words, you can make up new
      "schemes" as you go along, and as your "members" dictate?
    * "Commitment to RAND licensing terms" - so if someone doesn't agree
      with some crazy patenting variant that is come up with, they're
      out. This would seem to encourage fragmentation of standards.

In summary, your RAND "standards" will probably not be widely adopted 
(due to cost-restrictions for small companies, and "fragmentation 
politics" for larger ones), and if you have any RF standards left after 
a while, these will still be used. My guess is that the number of RAND 
standards will increase in proportion, and will therefore dilute the 
usage of your standards.

Richard West.

Received on Sunday, 30 September 2001 20:56:39 UTC