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RE: [xml-dev] Re: W3C ridiculous new policy on patents

> You keep talking about business. There's more in life.
> Tell me, what is the cost of having a hobby? Everyone with an off the
> Or is every hobbyist entitled to their own bigco who'll pay the
> fees to attack bogus patents?

My impression is that hobbyists and small companies really don't have to
worry about large companies litigating against them, while large
companies tend to worry a lot about smaller competitors or opportunistic
hobbyists litigating.  If a hobbyist has even a reasonable chance of
success, it is not difficult to find a lawyer who will litigate in
return for a cut of any potential (likely out-of-court) settlement.  On
the other hand, large companies that litigate patents against smaller
competitors often get counter-sued for anticompetitive behavior and lose
impressively.  Litigating against much smaller competitors, let alone
hobbyists, is a very high-risk and low-reward behavior for a large

Again, this is just my personal feeling, but it seems that patents are
used in roughly the following descending frequency:

* Negotiation chip in cross-licensing agreements between two equally
large competitors - never litigated
* Desperate last-ditch competitive effort wielded by a weaker competitor
against stronger foes - litigation drags on
* Individual or small organization seeking big payout for patent
infringement (deliberate or unintentional) - settled out of court
* Large company acting very irrationally and trying to hinder a smaller

I'm not a lawyer, and I am just speaking for myself; but I personally
think that the "big company squashes inventive and lovable hobbyist"
angle is very unlikely, and is the least of the issues that are brought
up by the RAND discussion.  There are plenty of other implications of
patents and W3C that are more likely, have greater societal impact, and
more interesting.