At the Free Protocols Foundation, we consider that patented protocols are very undesirable. A protocol is a general agreement within an industry that things will be done in a certain way. It represents an agreed-upon expected behavior, providing common ground for cooperation among a variety of disparate entities: private businesses, academic institutions, government, and individuals. The protocol allows any of these entities to create products, services, applications, etc., and provides the necessary assurances that these offerings will function and interoperate in a well-defined way. The protocol is a positive, enabling force for the entire industry.
In order for the protocol to play this role, anyone who wishes to implement and use it must be able to do so freely, and without restrictions. The presence of patented components within the protocol places restrictions on its usage, and therefore serves only to undermine this purpose. Furthermore, the presence of the patent brings an enormously unfair market advantage to the patent holder. By exercising his patent rights, the patent holder can gain financial benefit from competing companies who wish to use the protocol, or can stifle competition altogether by denying the competing company the right to use the protocol at all.
We have no objection to companies seeking market advantage by means which benefit the consumer and the industry. Such means include the creation of superior products and services, or the exercising of legitimate patents on physical processes. But we strenuously object to the seeking of market advantage by attempting to lay claim to the protocol itself.
The presence of a patent within a protocol is at best absurd, pointless, and self-defeating. And at worst, it represents an attempt by corrupt business interests to gain market advantage at the expense of the industry and the consumer.
The Free Protocols Foundation is a nonprofit corporation, incorporated in the State of Washington.
The principal purpose of the Free Protocols Foundation is to act as an independent public forum for the support of patent-free protocols. We do this by means of the following major activities:
The scope of activities of the Free Protocols Foundation is limited to those activities which provide support for free protocols, and which oppose the mis-use of patented protocols.
In particular, the Free Protocols Foundation does not develop protocols itself, nor does it participate in the development of the protocols of other organizations. The FPF does not evaluate or provide any commentary on the technical merits of protocols.
Also, the FPF does not make any independent verification of whether or not a developer actually adheres to the processes and procedures of Section 6. The FPF does no more than record the fact that the development organization has made the declaration that it conforms to those procedures.
In addition to its activities undertaken to support the development of patent-free protocols, the FPF may also take actions to oppose the creation and promotion of patented protocols. These actions may consist of any of the following:
We encourage others to join us in resisting the granting and abuse of software and protocol patents.