Good writeup on patents and standards

There is a good posting at the zdnet blogs talking about proprietary standards and why they are not a good thing in comparison to open standards. The talk specifically mentions Microsoft Word documents as an example of a de facto Proprietary standard and then goes on into a current example with cell phones.

wCDMA is the standard and the patent is owned by Qualcomm. Thhe standard has been adopted by the International Telecommunications Union and so we are stuck as it were. It would be wonderful if one of the requisites for being made a “standard” by any industry consortium were that the standard were not held by one company. I mean, sure there are going to be areas where standards develop due to the market (as was the case with Microsoft Office document formats), but if an organization gets together and decides to make a standard for processing email, wouldn’t it be a bad idea if ONE company held the patent for that and was in a position to control the industry because of it?

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