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RE: [xml-dev] More patent funnies!
- From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <email@example.com>
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 09:39:32 -0500
The broadness or age of a legal patent
doesn't change the patent situation with
respect to W3C policy other than to say the W3C
must be very thorough and that this will be
expensive. It has another benefit. If
the charter of the W3C is to "bring the web
to its full potential" then encouraging real
and exceptional technology by holding out
the possibility of getting a patent in a
web technology with the option to license
is an enormous incentive to further that
end. This is ostensibly the reason for
patents to begin with and what the W3C
would be doing is amplifying that effect
as well as post-processing the patent
office work and filtering out the bad
patents. I don't think anyone has
suggested they would do other than that.
Why would the W3C create a spec around
a bad patent or even a very loose one?
Because the patent exists? No, they would
only accept a patent because a member who
held it could prove it was good and
within scope and because other members choose to
accept it. Part of selecting patented
technology must include a decision by
the members (not the Director - too simple
to capture) to select it. The disclosure policy
works for the members and I think everyone
accepts the value of early disclosure.
The issue is the RF or non-RF terms. What can be
done effectively is have a policy for disclosure,
broad exhaustive review, membership choice and
negotiated terms. What a non-RF-only policy
does is remove incentives to bring
the best technology to the W3C and encourages moving
to other venues. That is a reasonable
outcome for some as Tim says, but an avoidable one
and to be avoided if the result is to make the end user
have to settle for less capable tech when
using the W3C version of the web.
Driving down the quality of the web, away from its
potential is the surest way to cause a
fracture into multiple competing systems
that cannot interoperate. Reasonable licensing
is one means among others to keep that from
"From each according to his abilities to
each according to his needs"
sounds good but as Ayn Rand illustrated, works
against progress for all because over time
each does less and each needs more.