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Can We Legislate Past the H.264 Debate? 310

Midnight Warrior writes "We could solve the H.264 debate if a country's legislature were to mandate that any patents that contribute to an industry-recognized standard were unenforceable in the application of that standard. Ideally, each standard would also be required to have a 'reference design' that could be used without further licensing. This could also solve problems with a ton of other deeply entrenched areas like hard drives, DRAM, etc. RAND tries to solve this strictly within industry, but both the presence of submarine patents and the low bar required to obtain a patent have made an obvious mess. Individual companies also use patent portfolios to set up mutually assured destruction. I'm not convinced that industry can solve this mess that government created. But I'm not stupid; this clearly has a broad ripple effect. Are there non-computer industries where this would be fatal? What if the patents were unenforceable only if the standard had a trademark and the implementer was compliant at the time of 'infringement'? Then, the patents could still be indirectly licensed, but it would force strict adherence to standards and would require the patent holders to fund the trademark group to defend it to the end. In the US model, of course."

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