W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-plugins@w3.org > January 2004

Re: Microsoft Seeks Browser Plug-In Patent Of Its Own

From: Daniel Weitzner <djweitzner@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 2004 11:56:52 -0500
Message-ID: <3FF5A2D4.6010202@w3.org>
To: TheoDP@aol.com
Cc: public-web-plugins@w3.org, Alan Kotok <kotok@w3.org>

While I can't offer an answer on behalf of the HTML Patent Advisory 
Group constituted to address the Eolas patent, I can address the way 
that the W3C Patent Policy works.

Patent Advisory Group's are created when we become aware of a patent 
that is essential to a W3C Recommendation that is *not* available on 
royalty-free terms.[1] Our policy is focused on hte most serioius 
threats to interoperability. We do NOT create a PAG every time a patent 
is discovered that might read on a Web standard. The US Patent system 
being what it is, if we created a PAG for every patent allegedly related 
to the Web, we would have more PAGs than technical working groups. :-(

New Recommendations developed under the W3C's new patent policy will 
offer more (but not complete) licensing certainly. Our policy requires 
that from now on, all who participate in the development of a W3C 
Recommendation agree to license any essential patent claims they hold on 
a royalty-free basis.

TheoDP@aol.com wrote:

> Noting that nearly every Web user today relies on plug-in applications, the W3C fired 
> off a passionate letter to the USPTO arguing that Eolas has no right to a patent that 
> restricts access to the technology. 

FYI, our letter to the PTO said that we believed that there is a strong 
case that the patent is invalid and that that PTO should take action as 
quickly as possible to remove the damaging impact of the patent which 
should not have been issued in the first place.

We did not, as you incorrectly suggest, challenge Eolas' right to hold a 
patent in general on Web technology.

> So what does the W3C Patent Advisory Group (including its two Microsoft members), 
> think of Microsoft's patent application for 'Displaying Plug-in Supplied Content 
> in a Browser-Embedded Window', which the USPTO made public earlier this month?
> See the patent application at: http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220030226102%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20030226102&RS=DN/20030226102

[1] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy-20030520.html#sec-Exception

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 Friday, 2 January 2004 11:56:11 UTC

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