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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...