W3C, Web Services and Patents

Now that the core SOAP specs are heading towards Recommendation status,
attention turns towards higher-level specs that could be layered above

The W3C has a "royalty-free" (RF) only requirement on patents relevant
to its specs, so any future web service specs handled directly by the
W3C will have to comply with this (excellent) strategy. 

Many standards' bodies are involved in defining specs that are relevant
to web services (W3C, IETF [RFC 3288], OASIS [SAML], http://Odrl.net
[ODRL], etc.) I have no problem with different web service specs being
handled by the most appropriate standards bodies, but the question does
arise about the need for royalty-free usage of the specs.  The desirable
goal is to allow companies to vigorously compete based on their
implementations of the standards, not on ownership of the standards. 

I reckon the W3C should have a public strategy along the lines of:

    "The W3C aims to participate in providing a consistent set of
    Recommendations relating to web services, all of which are 
    useable on a royalty-free basis. The W3C will actively 
    co-operate with other standards bodies to further this goal. 

    However, where a different standards body is producing an important
    web service spec, and it is only usable on a royalty-bearing basis,
    then the W3C will aggressively promote/produce competing 
    recommendations that are royalty-free". 

Agree / Disagree?

Eamon O'Tuathail

P.S. For background info, please read

Received on Wednesday, 21 August 2002 11:01:31 UTC