Re: Issue-100 - proceeding with open exclusion periods

26.11.2014, 20:55, "Wayne Carr" <>:
> On 2014-11-26 03:49, wrote:
>> šHi,
>> šTL;DR: I don't think we need a change, but I won't be fighting hard against one.
>> šCurrently, it is *theoretically* possible to publish a Recommendation while the CR exclusion period is still open:
>> šDetails:
>> šOn entering CR, a 60-day exclusion period begins.
>> šThe CR period must be four weeks (i.e. 28 days) long.
>> šThe Proposed Recommendation review period (which can theoretically begin the day after the CR period ends) must be 28 days.
>> šIf there is no dissent, the director's decision could be made and the document published 56 days after the CR period begins - i.e. while there are 4 days left in the exclusion period.
>> šThe current process explicitly states that the PR review *should* end at least 10 days after the final exclusion period, and in practice entering PR the day after finishing CR (equivalent in the old Process to a zero-length CR period immediately after the period for last call comments closes) is rare and indeed very difficult to organise. Note that under the current process, AC comments may come in at the *beginning of *CR**, not just during the PR period. One reason for this is to give a sense of whether the spec under review is urgently desired by industry, or possibly only relevant to the editor and a friend, which in turn should help W3C work out how much they need to prioritise getting the spec through the process.
>> šThe "threat model" is as follows:
>> šFooAPI 1.0 is developed by the MadScience WG, and enters CR at 00:00 on 1 october.
>> šAll members of the WG explicitly declare that they have no patents to exclude by 3 October, there are no comments (after all, it is a great spec), and at 00:00 on 29 October a PR is published.
> šPSIG should be consulted.

They have.

> šIt's my understanding that if all WG
> members explicitly declare that they have nothing to exclude, then the
> exclusion period ends then.

It is my understanding of the discussion there that if a new member joins, the exclusion period still applies.

>> šThe responses are entirely positive, and on 26 November (thanksgiving blackouts being a thing of the past) a Recommendation is published.
>> šOn 27 November, the "Cool Science In Real Operations" anarcho-syndicalist collective joins the working group, since they are very interested in FooAPI 2, and announce that they have a patent they plan to exclude. Which, it turns out, is as essential for FooAPI 1.0 as FooAPI 2.0.
> Joining seems irrelevant if they're just going to exclude anyway.

We ask people to join, and disclose, and it is highly relevant that people do so whether or not they exclude.

> If they don't join (and so exclusion is irrelevant) and a month after REC
> they disclose they think they have an essential claim that they aren't
> willing to license, we're in the same boat. šAnd then we're talking
> about rescinding a REC.

No, we are still talking about a PAG, which may come to that conclusion or a different one.

>> š(Note, this skates over some issues where the Patent Policy itself is apparently not clear, but in any event a Recommendation which is known to be covered by an patent that isn't offered RF is a problem, and depending on how you interpret the policy the scenario can be changed to fit - e.g. the collective never joins the WG but announces their patent and outrageously unreasonable dsicriminatory terms, or some other variation).
>> šSo, what to do?
>> šThat this is at all possible has been the case forever. In practice it assumes no comments requiring much time to process, a desire on the part of the director to get everything done as fast as possible, and no dissent in the last 10 days of PR review - under the current process any dissent must be answered in public 14 days before the director can make a decision, which would blow the ability to produce a *Recommendation*.
>> šThere are some recommendations (if it becomes one, longdesc springs to mind) which are entirely based on work done 15, 20 or more years ago, for which it is truly unlikely that there are any patent concerns. Nonetheless, members may feel happier with a process that does not allow the freedom of judgement to W3C. The issue proposes that a constraint be added so a PR cannot be published while an exclusion period is open.
>> šThis is certainly fairly trivial to achieve in the text. There several possible approaches, including extending the CR review period to match the exclusion period, or stating that for a document to become a PR there must be no open exclusion opportunity.
> Why would we want PR not to start until the exclusion period ends?

That was the suggestion from Dave Singer, subsequently turned into an objection, resolved by agreeing to Process-2014 on the basis that we would address some outstanding objections in 2015.

> (usually nothing happens in the exclusion period). šWe should say PR
> can't end while there is an open exclusion period and not try to do the
> day counting to add up to whatever the exclusion period turns out to
> be. šThe Director isn't going to approve a REC when someone has just
> excluded or even someone outside the WG disclosed a patent claim that
> seems relevant. šI don't think we have to state something obvious like
> that. šBut, we should change the wording to not have PR end any earlier
> than the day after the last exclusion period ends. (and if it happens,
> there are a stream of formal objections and even if that doesn't happen,
> the Director has plenty of time to look at it.)

What you suggest is effectively what the Process suggests as the default, and what I suggest remain the default.

The Process uses "should" not "must" so in principle it is possible to go to the extreme I decided. As I point out, that is very difficult in practice, as well as unlikely given someone somewhere is thinking a little bit - I note that the current practice is explicitly to avoid it by checking for open exclusion periods. 

An alternative approach to resolving this issue by not allowing PR during an exclusion would be to change the "should end at least 10 days after any exclusion period" to a "must".

As I said originally, I don't really care a lot which outcome we choose. But It would be good to resolve the issue some time soon.

>> šMy personal preference is to leave the situation as it stands, making the situation where a PR goes out before the exclusion period closes unlikely and getting to Rec *almost* impossible, but allowing it in principle. This matches the "moar agile" aspirations of the Process Task Force, but I also don't think the question is particularly important - adding an extra delay of 5 weeks at the very end of the Process, by which time we expect the decision to be a formality when everyone has done their job well, is unlikely to be a huge problem in the real world.

Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex - - - Find more at

Received on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 18:10:43 UTC