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Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
>People should read David Turner's article first.
>He makes cogent arguments, and experience shows
>the value of patent licensing over surrendering
>rights to other companies (See Intel vs Intergraph)
>without complaint. The part Simon quoted is the
>conclusion, but not the whole case. Without
>looking for threats, one might summarize that
>given RF-only, it is not that the W3C will cease
>to be a spec-producing organization, but that
>the class of technologies for which it is able
>to offer RF specifications narrows considerably
>and possibly, so will its membership. Ok, we
>just have to accept that if we want RF-only.
Turner's article turns on conflating the notion of patent rights with
creating a an infrastructure via a standards organization that depends
upon those patents. In other words, there very well may not be a market
for the "invention" covered by the patent unless it does become a basic
part of the information infrastructure. Patent holders are certainly
free to not participate in standards organizations but without a
"standard," they may well find only limited markets for products based
on their standards. Having a relatively uniform infrastructure is what
makes particular products (or patents) successful.
You may read Turner as saying that the alleged (since they are unnamed
or spoken of only in vaguest terms) holders of patents may look for
other venues to create a uniform market for their patents, but I doubt
that sort of overreaching will be viewed very favorably in most
standards organizations. The patent holder faces the choice of actually
producing a useful product (the intent of patent law, at least
originally) or in some way making that patent a part of the
infrastructure so that others need it. Assuming that standards
organizations become less and less sympathetic, then I suppose patent
holders can either sulk and hold onto their patents or they can actually
try to compete in the marketplace.
>Are the trends you think applicable from the W3C
>spec adoption sustainable in the future? IOW, is
>that a merely historical or an inevitable trend?
As far as basic infrastructure, yes. Since there is little experience
with building an entire infrastructure in so short a time I don't think
there is much other evidence to look at in this situation. Still, the
low risk bet is to go with experience and that seems almost uniformly in
favor of wide spread adoption, largely via RF.
>I'm not for patents in W3C specs, but I think your
>argument has holes. It depends on greed too,
>and in a money game, there are other strategies.
It would be easier to respond if you could say what those "holes" are.
Simply saying it does not make it so. As I recall, I suggested there is
no evidence that RAND will work as well as RF for W3C standards.
Turner's articles cites none to the contrary and you don't in your post.
Perhaps it was just overlooked.
>The argument revolves around creating market with
>standards, not creating products for which a market
>has already been created or for truly innovative
>products which are easily sold but readily copied
And why can't patent holders sell products? I don't recall saying that
they could not.
>W3C specs related originally to pieces of the infrastructure
>that were tough to market without giving them away.
>There are products that are more successful if
>other companies can build them correctly at low
>to no cost. Browsers were thought to be that, but
>aren't. They are loss leaders. HTTP servers are
>a good example of the kind of tech that an RF-spec
>can make more attractive: a commodity with no value
>unless adopted widely.
>What about others? If the property is interesting
>enough that a lot of companies want to produce it to sell
>instead of give away or simply package into
>other products for good will, it's more profitable
>to patent and license than to go even the RAND route.
>Patent licensing is lucrative in the extreme. Much
>better than RANDing. RANDing forces one to be
>"reasonable and non-discriminatory". Patent
>licenses don't have that impact.
If the product is that interesting, compelling, why not just sell the
product? Why would a patent holder want to build the product into a
standard, of any sort, if it can simply dominate the market with a
better product. No names here but some would make that argument for
certain operating systems. Did not try for a standard with RAND or
anything else. I think having 90% + of the marketplace would make most
>Does that pass the bottle to everyone?
>No. We may not see a decent binary XML because MPEG
>encumbered the best idea first. Perfectly legal. Good for
>all concerned; no, but we can't make them care.
Think so? Hmmm, I just let that pass as a religious opinion and won't
>Pick your goose accordingly but this comes down to
>following one that leads to eggs. In at least
>some cases, you may be following a gander.
All I was suggesting was taking care of a goose that is already laying
golden eggs. The one Turner is suggests exists is somewhere off in the
bushes, if there at all. If that were not the case, Turner and others
would be citing real numbers to make their case.
>From: Patrick Durusau [mailto:email@example.com]
>Until someone can make the case that RAND based web standards will have
>the same adoption curve as present W3C standards, the minority of
>vendors who might profit from RAND would do well to contain their greed.
>They could well be about to kill the goose that is laying golden eggs.
Director of Research and Development
Society of Biblical Literature