"...The W3C's Patent Policy Framework, more commonly
referred to as the "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (RAND)
licensing proposal, acknowledges a central conflict to the
standardization process: Companies that spend serious time and
effort coming up with the technology behind the standards may be
reluctant to simply give away the rights to what they consider
their intellectual property.
That proposal, written by W3C members representing large
technology companies such as Microsoft, Apple Computer,
Hewlett-Packard and Philips Electronics, has kicked off a firestorm
of controversy among developers, some of whom claim it will spell
the end of innovation for the Web and could lead to undue influence
by commercial companies over the standards process.
More specifically, some developers believe the proposal calls
into question the W3C's role as the arbiter of standards related to
the Web. A final decision on the policy is expected from the W3C by