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Leaving a Working Group

From: Stephen Zilles <szilles@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2016 20:31:40 -0700
To: <public-w3process@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001d1d8c9$3e278ae0$ba76a0a0$@adobe.com>
Consider thefollowing scenario:

A charter for Working Group A is developed and aproved by the AC and the Director.

A  Call for Participation is issued and Members C through G participate

After about six months, a First Public Working Draft, draft P, is published.

This starts the 150 day Exclusion Review period.

The Review period completes without any exclusions. Draft P becomes a Reference Draft.

Comments begin to come in.

A new Working Draft, draft Q, is published to respond to an accessibilty  comment. 

A further new Working Draft, draft R, is published to respond to a security comment.

At this point, the original charter is about to expire..

A new (re-) charter is developed with a slightly different scope. 

This re-charter receives the approval of the AC and the Director.

A new Call for Participation is issued. 

Members C through F re-designate their participiants; Member G does not.

After an additional year, the (re-chartered) Working Group A publishes another Working Draft, draft S, with additional new content.

Some months later, they publish a Candidate Recommendation,  draft T, starting a new Exclusion Period.


Now come the questions:

1. What is the status of Member G with respect to Working Group A?

Clearly G is not a participant in the (re-chartered) Working Group A.  But, Member G has not resigned from the Working Group,  at least not by the  resignation process define in Process 2015, Section 3.6 Resignation from a Group



2. What are Member G's Licensing Commitments and Exclusion Opportunities?

According to 4.2. Exclusion and Resignation From the Working Group of the Patent Policy, "if a participant leaves the Working Group later than 90 days after the publication of the first public Working Draft, that participant is only bound to license Essential Claims based on subject matter contained in the latest Working Draft published before the participant resigned from the Working Group." Whether this licensing commitment limitation applies to Member G seems to depend on whether Member G is deemed to have resigned by not re-designating participation in Working Group A. If he is not deemed to have resigned,  then, it would appear that his licensing commitment continues to grow with additions made until Member G does formally resign. If Member G does formally resign, then Member G is eligible for the 60 days after their actual resignation to exclude Essential Claims.


The latest Working Draft when Member G did not re-designate participation was draft R. Draft R has additional substantive material, M, beyond the Reference Draft and by the prior quote from the Patent Policy, Member G is committed to license essential patents on that additional material M, provided Member G formally resigns before drafts S and T are published. In addition, Member G is eligible for the 60 days after their actual resignation to exclude Essential Claims per Section 4.2 of the Patent Policy.


But, what if Member G does not formally resign and suppose Member G has essential claims on that additional material and that Member G wishes to exclude some of those claims. Since Member G is not a current participant in the (re-chartered) Working Group,  Member G is not eligible to exclude patents during the Candidate Recommendation Exclusion Period. Since Member G did not resign per Process 2015, Member G is not eligible for “the 60 days after their actual resignation to exclude Essential Claims.” Therefore, it seems that, in this case, Member G is denied an Exclusion Opportunity (and continues to accrue licensing commitments).


A Potential Solution:

As Wayne Carr noted, if whenever a Working Group Charter expires (or is terminated), all participants are deemed to have formally resigned with the expiration/termination of that charter, then the problem above is mostly solved. It is only mostly solved because such an implied resignation triggers the start of “the 60 days after their actual resignation to exclude Essential Claims.” A Working Group participant that does not re-designate participation in the (re-chartered) Working Group may be unaware that an Exclusion Period began with the expiration/termination of the prior charter.


Solving this later problem is a bit tricky because it is a reasonable practice for the Director to extend the prior charter until the new charter is approved and a Call for Participation is issued. That suggests that at the same time as the Call for Participation is issued an announcement of the Resignation Exclusion Period should be sent to all participants of the Working Group under the prior charter. As Wayne Carr has pointed out, whether participants that do re-designate participation need to take advantage of this Resignation Exclusion Period is moot because as long as they are participating they may delay exclusions to the next Exclusion period triggered by a Candidate Recommendation, or, if they chose to formally resign later, then that triggers a  Resignation Exclusion Period on all new material since the most recent draft on which an Exclusion Period had completed.


Steve Z



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Received on Friday, 8 July 2016 03:32:07 UTC

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