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I wrote to Dave Whelan concerning technology and whether a company loses its
rights to some product if it does not consistently require users to pay for
it. My theory was that it might like a trademark, and if a company did not
protect it, anyone could use the technology without being penalized or fined
later. Dave wrote back with a good explanation of the differences between
the policy on trademark protection and the licensing of a product and
charging a fee. He said I could pass his reply on to the group, so here it
is, after my address...
Retek Information Systems
Technical Editor - Training
Phone: 612.630.5642 Fax: 612.630.5710
Email: marylee_hendricks -at- retek -dot- com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dave Whelan [SMTP:dwhelan -at- pangea -dot- ca]
<mailto:[SMTP:dwhelan -at- pangea -dot- ca]>
> Sent: Monday, September 21, 1998 10:45 AM
> To: Marylee Hendricks
> Subject: Re: Fussy Web Developers Use GIFs
Yes, I think there is something in what you say, a company can be
seen to have abandoned their rights if they don't defend them, but in this
case the company has declared it has the rights and is prepared to defend
them. They have established that they own the technology and that they
require people using it to be licensed. They allow some groups to use the
technology under, in effect a free license, but reserve the right to change
this position whenever they feel like it.
I think we should be wary of using proprietary technology even if it
is seductively free. These days, many corporations are treated simply as
cash cows, with every last drop of profit squeezed out regardless of the
long-term future health of the company. If a company decided to charge even
a very small amount for the use of its technology after establishing market
domination by allowing free use, it would make a fortune. For executives
looking for more profit, this must be tempting to say the least.