W3C patent progress?

by Simon St. Laurent

Related link: http://xmlhack.com/read.php?item=1558

The W3C may not have entirely ruled out RAND in their latest Patent Policy draft, but they certainly make it clear that they're not very interested in dealing with it.

The new draft is nearly a complete reorganization of the previous draft, and the change log notes "RAND track dropped" - an encouraging sign to be sure.

It isn't clear, however, that RAND is dead, however much most of the writers (myself included) of comments would like to see that happen. An exception-handling mechanism deals with cases where "a patent has been disclosed that may be essential, but is not available on RF terms."

That exception-handling mechanism may determine how the policy functions in practice. If there are lots of exceptions, or unclear grounds for what qualifies as an exception, the foundation policy may not be as important.

(For more details and background, visit the xmlhack story.)

RAND is now at least relegated to exceptional status. Is this a victory over patents?