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Re: Preparing to launch the Forms Task Force ...

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 20:49:36 +0000
Message-ID: <45F85FE0.2070505@cam.ac.uk>
To: matt@builtfromsource.com
Cc: public-html@w3.org

Matthew Ratzloff wrote:
> On Wed, March 14, 2007 8:07 am, Laurens Holst wrote:
>> Plus that all those people on the WHATWG list haven't signed the patent
>> policy. Can the W3C copy a feature in the WHATWG's spec if the person
>> who proposed it didn't join the W3C HTML WG? It seems to me that any new
>> idea proposed on the WHATWG list could potentially be one idea less that
>> can make it into the W3C specification, even if it's really good. The
>> person who originally proposed it could file a patent, because he(/she)
>> is not bound by the policy. The only thing you could do is to track him
>> down and get him to sign the patent policy separately, which seems like
>> a lot of trouble. Or am I missing something here?
> 
> This, to me, seems like the biggest issue.  The whole point of the patent
> policy is to give reasonable assurance that the specification is free of
> IP concerns.  Unless there is patent language that I missed, subsuming the
> WHAT WG's HTML 5 spec would be opening up browser makers to be blindsided
> at a later date.

As far as I can tell the patent policy only provides the assurance that 
members of the working group or the organisation they represent do not 
have restrictive patents on the technologies needed to implement the 
HTML spec. It does not protect against patents on these technologies 
held by other parties. Therefore there is no significant IP protection 
afforded by avoiding the Web Apps spec as a starting point for the new 
HTML specification; implementors are immune to patent lawsuits from the 
same group of people.

On the flip side, not taking maximum advantage of the 3 years of active 
development of the WHATWG specifications, encompassing ~10,000 emails 
worth of use cases, testcases, implementation experience and so on, 
seems to me to be extreme folly, especially given the aggressive 
timetable imposed by the charter. Therefore I fully support the idea of 
using these documents wholesale as a starting point and then adding or 
subtracting to them as necessary based on further discussion. Since Ian 
has explicitly stated that he wishes to keep the two documents in sync, 
it also seems sensible, as other have suggested, for him to edit both specs.

-- 
"The universe doesn't care what you believe. The wonderful thing about 
science is that it doesn't ask for your faith, it just asks for your 
eyes" --- http://xkcd.com/c154.html
Received on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 20:49:42 GMT

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