Re: Standards without patents, please! (Re: AC @ 19:08)
(Sheesh, everyone! Learn how to keep the topic, not change it to this @... stuff all the time!)
"You want standards without patents? Why don't you fund the development of them then? The standards used in the mobile phone world have all cost companies like Nokia a significant amount of time and money to develop - you're suggesting that they should then give the results of all this hard work away to their competitors for free? And you don't see why they might not want to do this?"
Nope. I'm suggesting that if people want to profit from their technologies being *mandated* as public standards - that is, everyone playing the game has to implement those technologies - then it shouldn't be like giving a bunch of companies tax-raising powers. That it takes an outsider to shake up the mobile business just shows how moribund it gets when a cartel gets to choose who can compete in the market.
Besides, it isn't usually just corporations doing the work. A bunch of stuff comes out of public organisations, too, although it's more often than not siphoned off to "spin-offs" these days - your tax money at work, there, that is. So, I am almost certainly funding standards development, in fact - I get the bill for this every year.
"Allowing IP in standards to remain patented (and reasonably licensed) encourages interoperability between manufacturers, which last time I checked was a Good Thing(TM)."
Interoperability is a good thing, but it is in no way predicated by any technology being patented. In fact, where there is a choice of standards, it's highly likely that those unencumbered by patents will be favoured - you don't have to be an award-winning economist to understand why this might be. Web standards are a reasonable example of interoperability through unencumbered standards. Although you could complain about Web standards not being followed properly by, say, Microsoft, that isn't really anything to do with people not having to pay each other patent royalties.
"The alternatives are that we have lots of different proprietary standards and the consumer loses or you have an independent body create the standards which since it won't be getting any return on any investment will be default be done on a shoe-string which will result in poorer quality of work and certainly less innovation. Once again the consumer loses."
The Web is a pretty decent counterexample: a bunch of people created something of value for a greater number of people instead of thinking about how they could nickel-and-dime everyone all the time. Just consider the failure that the Gopher technology was, and how an obsession with "monetizing intellectual property" can lead to nowhere. Had some government mandated Gopher for public information services you'd more or less have the cartel atmosphere that pervades mobile communications today.
Having patents on standards is like slipping some kind of earmark on legislation: it suggests corruption and nepotism of the form "we like these people, so here's a guaranteed revenue stream for them". Public standards, which is what GSM and UMTS have effectively become, should be all about interoperability and creating value for the public good - that's what we expect from our governments and legislators - not about appointing private gatekeepers for a given market, suppressing competition and propping up stuff that people would otherwise choose not to use.
Nokia have spent time and money on stuff. Well, if they're so "shit hot", shouldn't they be able to make better equipment than everyone else? You know, innovating? Or is it not just more likely that people with patents get accustomed to "corporate welfare" and expect monetary praise for their past efforts in perpetuity?