RE: Facts to Support RAND? was: Re: more pate nt fun
Careful when you call them idiots. They may be rich idiots. It isn't an error and you know it isn't. If you were holding valuable patents, you'd have to think long and hard about giving them up if they were contributing as much or more to the bottom line as your software sales. That can be the case. The questions are: 1. Is the W3C attempting to spec a domain for software that already exists in a market? 2. Do the existing vendors in that market hold patents over the technology the W3C wants to create specifications for? 3. Does the W3C policy require a vendor to relent licensing (agree to RF) on any domain for which the W3C has agreed to create a specification as a condition of membership? The market may already be there and the W3C may be inappropriately appropriating it. If the market does not exist, and the value of the patent is low, there is little incentive to litigate it or not provide it on RF terms. If the market is established and the value of the patent is high, conditions which force the holder to give up the licensing revenues to maintain membership will be unacceptable. 1. The value created by the Internet is undeniable. Membership in the W3C or contributing to W3C specifications are not conditions for profiting in the Internet market. 2. Open source is just another business model. Pitting the open source community against Microsoft or IBM is a red herring. The question is one of the market value of the patent, not the free use of it by competitors or in specifications. The business model is not an either/or situation. The problem is the RF policy is. You can't blame lawyers for a problem the W3C brought on itself when it shifted its role from specifications for technology to standards. The patents have value or don't. It's that simple. len From: Tim Bray [mailto:tbray@t...] Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote: > 3. The main point is that an RF-only policy, no exceptions, > simply makes the choice easy. Don't submit innovative technology > because it will be more profitable and easier to use the patent > laws. So where it might have been "the right thing to do", > now it is a business loss to do because licensing is > more profitable than paying out to create specifications for > competitors to build to. This is the fundamental error. Certain W3C member representatives are prone to saying "RF is fundamentally against our Business model! We made $big-number last year on our patent portfolio!" These idiots fail to ask themselves how much they made last year because the Web exists and has become a superb application vehicle in some large part on the basis of free software. The notion that you can make money building and delivering web applications, based on the Web's unbiquity and interoperability, is well-proven in practice. The notion that you can make money by setting up a tollbooth on a piece of Web infrastructure (and thereby driving out all open-source/free offerings as a side-effect) is a radical proposal without even an existence proof. I think the W3C is trying to do the sensible thing that sensible business people would go for if they weren't under the influence of shitforbrains attorneys with "Intellectual Property is Sacred" tatooed across the inside of their foreheads. As for Microsoft's motives? Gosh, a RAND licensing policy on *anything* guarantees that there will be no free-software competition. Doh. -Tim
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