W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-plugins@w3.org > November 2003

RE: 906 Patent Re-Examination

From: Richard M. Smith <rms@computerbytesman.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 14:10:16 -0500
To: <public-web-plugins@w3.org>
Message-Id: <E1AGk5i-0001ns-00@smtp02.mrf.mail.rcn.net>

Hi Danny,

Do you expect that the W3C will be more proactive about Web patents in the
future?  A review of the '906 patent would have been better back in 1999
after the patent was issued.

There are also a number of other patents which affect Web browsers and Web
sites.  Will the W3C be looking into them too?  Some of the patents that I
am aware of affect streaming video, Web bugs to track Web site visitors, and
pop-under ads.  


-----Original Message-----
From: public-web-plugins-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-web-plugins-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Weitzner
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 1:56 PM
To: Harold Wray
Cc: public-web-plugins@w3.org
Subject: Re: 906 Patent Re-Examination

W3C acted in this case because the patent, which we believe was 
improperly issued, had the effect of blocking interoperability on the 
Web. We acted in accordance with our Patent Policy.[1] That policy 
provides that all Recommendations should be able to be implemented on a 
Royalty-Free basis. This policy was enacted with the overwhelming 
support of our membership, who themselves hold quite a few patents and 
consider themselves to be sources of innovation.

You note expresses concern that our actions will retard innovation. If 
successful, I believe they'll do just the opposite. The object embedding 
features allegedly patented in '906 are vital to the continued growth 
and expansion of the Web. They are a source of innovation precisely 
because these elements of markup languages such as HTML and xHTML enable 
rendering of new markup formats by external applications. The last 
decade of developments in Web technolody demonstrate that this 
extensibility has given rise to innovations such as 3rd party streaming 
multimedia, animation, and rich document formats. Those all depended on 
the features of HTML now under attack by the holder of the '906 patent.

Debates rage about whether software patents in general encourage 
innovation or retard progress. We don't seek to resolve those debates 
with our filing. Our sole goal is to enable the Web to continue to 
function on a foundation of unencumbered standards. While this won't 
guarantee innovation, we believe it is an essential enabler of 
innovative Web technology.

The next step is now up to the US Patent Office.

Thanks for your comments.

Danny Weitzner

Harold Wray wrote:

> Regarding Eolas's patent I would like to say that the W3C should be 
> ASHAMED of the acts they are taking to destroy 906.  We live in a 
> country where innovation is the upmost importance and one of the few 
> ways we protect and encourage intellectual property is with patents.  
> How is anyone EVER going to be encouraged to think and come up with new 
> ideas if they will be later invalidated.  If anyone of these companies 
> or people patented or protected this idea first they would be acting the 
> complete opposite.  906 patent has been decided and WE ALL have to move 
> forward.  We all will adapt.  If you are going to find prior art or 
> another loophole to make patent No. 5,838,906 invalid you should go 
> through every other patent first and confirm there validity.  Every 
> person knows of someone who came up with the invention way before it was 
> patented.  Does that make every one of those patents invalid?  I suggest 
> each of you think about all the innovations you ever dream up in your 
> life meaning NOTHING.
> Sincerely,
> Harold Wray

[1] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy-20030520.html
Daniel J. Weitzner                              +1.617.253.8036 (MIT)
World Wide Web Consortium                       +1.202.364.4750 (DC)
Technology & Society Domain Leader              <djweitzner@w3.org>
Received on Monday, 3 November 2003 14:13:08 UTC

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