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W3C: Current Patent Practice

Jan 25, 2002, 16:39 (6 Talkback[s])

Some months after the initial controversy surrounding its consideration of software patents in Web standards, the W3C has released a document outlining its stance regarding, and procedures for dealing with, proposed standards that might include patented technologies.

This current practice has evolved in order to satisfy the goal held by a number of W3C Members and significant parts of the larger Web community: that W3C Recommendations should be, as far as possible, implementable on a Royalty-Free basis [AC]. The current practice described here seeks to
  • establish Royalty-Free implementation as a goal for Recommendations produced by new and re-chartered Working Groups;
  • encourage maximum disclosure of patents that might prevent a W3C Recommendation from being implemented on a Royalty-Free basis;
  • provide a process for addressing situations in which the goal of Royalty-Free implementation may not be attainable.

This document relies on the definition of Royalty-Free licensing as described in the W3C Patent Policy Framework Last Call Working Draft [PATENT-POLICY]. Note that current W3C patent practice does not require any W3C Member to make a Royalty-Free licensing commitment for essential patents it may hold. Such a commitment is under discussion in the Patent Policy Working Group for possible inclusion in of the final patent policy, but has not been implemented."

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