Analysis on balance: Standardisation and Patents

Alex Hudson home at
Tue Dec 2 17:19:49 UTC 2008

Matthias Kirschner wrote:
> Read the whole article under:

I have a couple of questions and points which the article doesn't seem 
to answer:

    "[..] (F)RAND terms are discriminating against Free Software. Even
    RAND terms linked to zero royalties, [..] often exhibit the same
    problems because they do not permit sublicensing."

It doesn't seem to make any argument why sub-licensing would be 
desirable and/or necessary for free software.

    "[..] Free Software, which is estimated to reach 32% of all IT
    services and 4% of European GDP by 2010."

First, the link doesn't support that claim - it says "could" in the 
sense of some upper-bound, not a prediction of the size of the market. 
Second, they count anything feasibly related - those figures don't 
relate directly to free software. These figures really are a bit 
outlandish - EU GDP is some $16 trillion, and 4% of that is $64 billion.

    "Such a case reverts the initial idea of patenting: The technology
    is valuable because it is patented, not patented because it is

I think this is pretty weak. You don't patent things because they are 
"valuable", you patent them to make them valuable. That's the whole 
point of IPR as far as I can see.

    "From the perspective of most SMEs, 100.000 EUR patent research
    costs are prohibitively expensive"

So they just don't do it ;) There are plenty of SMEs that are patent 
holders, and this is really just an argument to reduce the cost of 
obtaining a patent, which isn't really what we want.

The conclusions of the article seem relatively reasonable, although I'm 
slightly worried by the introduction of "Interop trumps patent" as being 
relevant to the community patent debate. I don't think that's a deal we 
want to strike.



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