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RE: [xml-dev] More patent funnies!

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.