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

Maybe, but I have not given up on the W3C or its members to 
sort out the right thing to do.  The W3C does do a reasonable 
job and while we have to be very clear where certain lines 
of authority and entitlement are drawn, we don't need to 
simply walk away.

1.  They have to have a policy regarding patents.
2.  That policy should discourage requiring patented 
    technology in any specification or standard.

I won't go so far as some have and say, "NO R EVER" 
because that is inflexible.  Still, I think most can 
agree that royalities on technologies whose implementation 
may be required to use the Internet are not good for 
*all* parties.   There are plenty of alternative organizations 
such as OASIS, the organization that sponsors XML-Dev, that 
will host and support open efforts.  Certainly, one 
should go to such as OASIS, but remember, just because 
it has a policy doesn't mean one won't stumble into a 
patent.  It is a PIA to be working on a public list 
and have someone send me email that says:

"Be advised that we patented the concept of tagging 
human emotions, see http://upchuck.com "

and know that if you look at that page, you may be 
bound to its terms.  That sort of thing is bad law 
and must be changed.   If someone wants me to look, 
they must give up the right to encumber me by the 
fact I looked.  This sort of crap is making life 
hard for some standards groups (see the problems 
of XML, MPEG and X3D).  Before I look, send me a 

We should make a distinction between standards and 
specifications.  I believe (yes, a belief) a standard 
is written because a standard is in the public's best 
interest.  The public's best interest is represented 
by the governing body of a local public.  In this, ISO 
is better established for that purpose its members being 
national bodies and therefore, its interests are the 
interests of the international public.   

A specification is written to define or procure  
a technology or to encourage technical convergence.  This 
may be in the public's interest or it may be simply 
market representatives asserting an interest.  This 
is what the commercial consortia can do and do within a 
reasonable boundary between public and self interest 
without overstepping their authority. 

It's a fine boundary, I grant you, but one in which 
we can usefully say whose interests are served and 
answer Simon's original question.   Then it is and 
only is a matter of the organization's policy with 
regards to issuing specifications that include patented 
technology, but given a patent, there is little need 
for a specification.  There may be for a standard and 
yes, standards can include patented technology because 
it is possible that IS in the public's best interest. 
Otherwise, you wouldn't have an interoperating phone 
system over which to send these emails.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Lowery [mailto:jlowery@scenicsoft.com]

I think you're point's well stated, Len. W3C is not a body in pursuit of the
public interest. So it seems like those whose interests favor free,
unfettered base technologies for the web need seek appeal and refuge