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Subject: re: [chairs] patent ruling and it's impact on standards organizations

Message text written by "Philpott, Robert"
> http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/pcworld/20030131/tc_pcworld/109132&e=4 <


I'm not sure this teaches us anything new at all.

Just more of the same from the current rats nest 
created and sustained by the PTO.

There have been extended and continuing threads 
over in the W3C too on all this (W3C requirements
are more formal than OASIS right now IMHO).

As I've said over in the W3C - the solution is
NOT to be found within the W3C, nor OASIS, nor
anyone else.  All we are doing is trying to 
contain outbreaks of the disease and treat them
when they occur.  Unfortunately the PTO 
continues to spawn never-ending outbreaks
by issuing these patents in the first place.

So the ultimate cure is to eliminate the
disease at its source.

However - there are too many vested interest
blocks to put pressure for real changes at
the PTO - that would sort this mess out.

Notice the PTO gets paid by patents issued,
and has a process that allows examiners just
16 hours to review from start to finish.
And it has got very good at making money,
so it has no incentive to change.  The 
bulk of patents - 95%+ - are nothing to do
with inventions at all - but are simply 
defending product niches and features.
The big corporations submit thousands of
these a year - that keeps lots of people
employed - and ensures they have a dominant
position - and clogs the system so that
genuine inventions (that < 5%) have to wait
years before they get awarded, so that
products based on them have already 
been superceded in the marketplace by
copies and enhancements.

Right now independent inventors
have little incentive to contribute
their real findings - the best invention
is a blackbox that noone really knows
what it does inside - and does need
a patent.  Unfortunately the most 
useful inventions are those that 
can be most easily copied, and there
is no way of having modest fees paid
to inventors for delivering useful
components - its an all or nothing

Noone involved in this symbiotic cycle
has any incentive to change it.

What brave senator or congress representative
will voice change, given all the party 
contributions from those big companies 
benefiting most with all this?

But until that happens we will just continue to
spin our wheels.

Maybe what is needed is an independent
non-profit pressure group, or an 
international based effort for common
global standards.  

Cheers, DW.

(Holder of two US software patents).

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