W3C chastises Apple on HTML5 patenting

Apple won't provide a royalty-free license to technologies in the W3C's widget access specification, the organization says

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is seeking to invalidate a pair of Apple patents so the underlying technologies can be used as part of a royalty-free HTML5 stack.

The W3C's call for prior art is necessary, the organization argues, because it maintains a strict policy of validating Web standards that can be used without paying for royalties. By finding examples of the technology in use before Apple filed the patents, the W3C can render those patents invalid.

The patented technologies are core components to the W3C's Widget Access Request Policy, which specifies how mobile applications can request sensitive material. It is one of a number of specifications that are closely tied to the W3C's next generation standard for Web pages and applications, HTML5.

Apple has submitted application requests to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describing technologies that the W3C working group has folded into this specification: pending patent 20070101146, which covers access control procedures, and approved patent 7,743,336, which covers widget security.

As a member of the W3C, Apple should provide a royalty free license for technologies essential to the standards being developed, observers have noted. Thus far, the company has not done so, however.

"It's an unpleasant situation for the W3C to have to confront one of its members, especially such a large and powerful one, but sometimes this can't be avoided," said intellectual property advocate Florian Mueller, in a blog post on the subject.

Apple did not respond immediately to inquiries for this story.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Tags Languages and standardsapplication developmentAppleInternet-based applications and servicessoftwareinternet




Why am I not surprised? Apple is the type of company who would go to a standards setting consortium as a member, and then go "That's a good idea, let's patent it so everyone has to pay us!"

Apple should be run out of W3C and should not have a seat because of this. This is worse than how they've tried to push a video codec as the standard for <video> that they hold patents for... I mean come on, should any standard be beholdant to patent licensing? The whole point of W3C is to provide standards that anyone can implement, not just the ones that Apple, Microsoft and the like anoint with patent licenses.






The whole patent thing right now is a disaster. Tend to protect an invention of one smart person, all it does nowadays - holds back progress, and only benefits several big corporations. We live by the laws of 20th century in 21st. Sad thing - the corporations knows it, and use it only to assure its dominance (or make more money, you name it)

Dick Kolklayshr


I can see where the patent would be useful to Apple. A patent granted to Apple would not need to be used a block but to prevent high jacking by some one who patents an extension or improvement. Apple needs to preserve its right to use the html 5 code and also facilitate adoption by others who don't own the code. Question number two is "Will they?" They could license the patent for html 5 use free of restrictions and still keep it as a weapon of deterrent to prevent trouble makers from mucking up html 5 development.

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