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RE: [xml-dev] Cutting special deals for open source developers --noway!

I spend a lot of my life working on W3C Working Groups, giving away ideas 
that may well be patentable. As long as the standards we are working on are 
freely implementable, it is easy for my employer to understand that it is 
in our interest to pay me to work full time giving away ideas, because 
everyone else on the committees is doing the same thing, so we benefit from 
their generosity, and they benefit from ours.

Note: I am not speaking for my current employer, but in general terms.

Now suppose everyone is patenting ideas that are needed to be able to 
implement the standards we develop. If I come up with a potentially 
patentable idea, how do I explain to my employer that I should make it 
publicly available, when everyone else is patenting their ideas instead of 
making them available to us for our implementation? In fact, I may need to 
have some patented ideas to be able to trade with the other companies so 
that I can use all the technology I need to implement a standard we are 
working to develop together.

It gets worse, of course. I have to be careful not to communicate anything 
that might give away my potentially patentable ideas until I know they are 
protected, so I have to keep lots of secrets instead of being open with my 

This is certainly not the climate I want to work in while developing standards.