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The document is yetAnotherPhilosophyAsEconomicPolicy.
Too many of the people cited in your paper are
just philosophizing on undecidable propositions
based on ludicrous interpretations of recent events.
The policy is the direction the W3C has chosen.
Some policy is better than no policy given the CSS
patent and XPointer patents that are absurd on the
face of them to anyone who was in the industry prior
to circa 1995. What happened to that prior art?
In the case of XPointer, Sun ignored it. In the
case of CSS, MS ignored it. The patent office
had nothing to do with this. It was the trend
of the web pioneers to take far too much credit
for the work that set that example. Cry about
it, plead for open source, do all these things,
but a level playing field is not what this is
about. It is about property rights, the fundamental
right of sustainable economies, the right to exchange
value for value under agreed on terms.
What about reasonable patents?
Where patents are reasonable and the technology
is useful, those who want to share it via normal
business channels simply need to avoid the W3C
and the open source community. I doubt seriously
that will matter for a reasonable patent.
By degrees, valuable technologies will be standardized
outside the w3c which will itself, become by
degrees, irrelevant to those areas of technology.
Without property rights, no other rights matter.
From: Robin Cover [mailto:email@example.com]
The document referenced  is not intended to assist inventors in making
a decision "whether to patent or not." The document fully reckons with
the reality that software patents exist, and accepts hypothetically
that continued acquisition of patents may be the only safe strategy
for a company seeking to maintain parity in the current environment.
Until better mechanisms are established for contributing patented IP
to reciprocal-license pools, the policy in draft at W3C seems to me
eminently defensible: take some appropriate measure to guarantee
(selective) non-enforcement of patents which legally encumber open
That's what WASP advocated in response to the Microsoft CSS-related
patent; that's what Tim Bray and others advocated in response to
the Sun XPointer patent. That's what IBM is (apparently) being
forced to do in connection with the ebXML (CPP/CPA) patents. I've
called this "Patent non-proliferation and disarmament" in honor of
the label "defensive" patent portfolios.
I know several individuals who have been awarded software patents,
and all, to a person, agrees that the patent system in the US is
badly broken. What do you think?
You would serve the interests of your readers better by identifying
good/bad arguments than by characterizing a document as reflecting
a polarized kind of "thinking." If you think RAND-licensed patents
are a good idea within the framework of Internet (open) standards,
-- in fundamental disagreement with W3C's draft RF policy and in
fundamental disagreement with Lessig, please say so and explain why.
Comments offline about ways to improve the document are also welcome.
Patents and Open Standards
On Fri, 10 May 2002, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
> There is so much "us vs them" thinking in that paper...