Apple delaying web standard with patent royalty claim

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  • Reply 21 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by eAi View Post


    http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-...ec-Obligations



    "As a condition of participating in a Working Group, each participant [..] shall agree to make available [..] any [patent or patent application] related to the work of that particular Working Group." (modified for clarity)



    This would only apply if Apple were a member of the WebApps working group.



    I believe this relates to work done while developing the standards.

    Apple's patent was from the 90's and was not done in conjunction with the W3C.
  • Reply 22 of 123
    I believe the reason Apple is stalling is because the self updating widgets is what Palm's Pre is going to be based on. If Palm's Pre can update it's "apps/widgets" seamlessly over the web using Apple's patented technology, then Apple wants to get paid. I think Apple would prefer that Palm not have access to the tech at all and be able to keep it's own iPhone ahead.
  • Reply 23 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    The only problem with that was it was tried after the cat got out of the bag.



    If they exercised their rights from the beginning, then it wouldn't have been an issue.



    This is what happens when companies try to be altruistic in the beginning and give away their inventions, only to find that others are incorporating them in products where they are making money from it.



    They then feel as though they are being ripped off, and try to get something back. But, it's too late.



    MP3's are licensed. It didn't stop that from being widely used. Same thing with JPEGs.



    It appears that the W3C organization was formed in 1994, Apple apparently applied for the patent in 1998 and we don't know when it was granted. The question is, when did Apple join W3C. If its after they applied for their patent then W3C can't expect them to cough up access. On the other had if the Patent is going to expire in a year or two ...... it may be Apple is just trying to buy time for the final release of Safari or some other technology related to Snow Leopard.
  • Reply 24 of 123
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kresh View Post


    It appears that the patents must be offered to be included in the standard, and if included they must be royalty free. Did Apple offer the patent, or did the group implement a process which Apple declared infringement on a patent they have not offered to the group?



    I haven't read the entire W3C patent policy the previous poster linked to, but I don't read the section that was highlighted as saying that patents must be royalty free. I think the author of the story is mis-interpreting the policy (or is blindly regurgitating another article without verifying it himself).



    Section 3.1 one reads: "As a condition of participating in a Working Group, each participant (W3C Members, W3C Team members, invited experts, and members of the public) shall agree to make available under W3C RF licensing requirements any Essential Claims related to the work of that particular Working Group. This requirement includes Essential Claims that the participant owns and any that the participant has the right to license without obligation of payment or other consideration to an unrelated third party..."



    The part I bolded is confusing, but I read that the participant can't obligate royalty payments to an "unrelated third party" (ie, someone the participant is licensing the patent from).



    Also, nobody seems to have noticed section 4.1: "Specific Essential Claims may be excluded from the W3C RF licensing requirements by a participant who seeks to remain in the Working Group only if that participant indicates its refusal to license specific claims no later than 150 days after the publication of the first public Working Draft [PROCESS, section 7.4.1] by specifically disclosing Essential Claims that will not be licensed on W3C RF terms. A participant who excludes Essential Claims may continue to participate in the Working Group."



    This contradicts the authors statement that participants on the Working Group are required to offer up all of their patents. We don't know the timing related to the 150 day notification requirement, but I suspect that this is what Apple is doing. They are following the W3C policy for notification that they do not wish to allow them to use that patented technology.



    It appears Apple is within the normal policies and procedures of the W3C. What probably happened is some member of the group was unhappy and so they leaked this non-news to make it look like Apple wasn't playing by the rules and to try and pressure Apple to change their mind.
  • Reply 25 of 123
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macdanboy View Post


    It appears that the W3C organization was formed in 1994, Apple apparently applied for the patent in 1998 and we don't know when it was granted. The question is, when did Apple join W3C. If its after they applied for their patent then W3C can't expect them to cough up access. On the other had if the Patent is going to expire in a year or two ...... it may be Apple is just trying to buy time for the final release of Safari or some other technology related to Snow Leopard.



    Hard to say. If Apple received the patent in 1998, then it's got at least 9 more years of life left to it.



    It's also possible, as has been stated here by Johnny, that only patents developed in relation to the work done by the organization are subject to this. If so, then, again, the patent may not be.



    In addition, I don't see how an organization can decide which patents are required to be handed over. they can look at the patent portfolio of it's members, voluntary members by the way, and decide to develop tech based on patents owned. That would be reverse policy. Not basing work on patents being developed FOR the standard, which is the way it's done in the electronics industry, something I have knowledge of.



    If so, then it's not proper. The group could simply decide which patents they want, and base work on them, claiming they must be handed over. I can't see the legal stance there. I also can't see any company agreeing to it.



    Also, if Apple bowed out of the group, the group would have no recourse.
  • Reply 26 of 123
    irelandireland Posts: 17,798member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    All patents are evil.



    That is just wrong. The patent system is f-ed. It's the system. If a patent it stupid then it should be shown the door.
  • Reply 27 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macdanboy View Post


    It appears that the W3C organization was formed in 1994, Apple apparently applied for the patent in 1998 and we don't know when it was granted. The question is, when did Apple join W3C. If its after they applied for their patent then W3C can't expect them to cough up access. On the other had if the Patent is going to expire in a year or two ...... it may be Apple is just trying to buy time for the final release of Safari or some other technology related to Snow Leopard.



    I think people are missing the point of this rule that is in question.

    IF companies A, B and C are part of the "Widget working group",

    THEN company A, B or C can not claim ownership of technologies developed while working in the "Widget working group".



    IF company A developed and patented "Widget" technology in 1998 prior to joining the "Widget working group"

    THEN company A can claim ownership of technologies developed prior to working in the "Widget working group".



    W3C would need to secure a license from company A for inclusion as part of the W3C standard.
  • Reply 28 of 123
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jocknerd View Post


    The W3C doesn't hold patents. Its a standards organization. Software patents are evil.



    Don't they still need to patent their ideas to protect from others selling it or aspects if it as their own and so they have recourse to protect the standard from such action? For instance, doesn't Vesa have patents on DisplayPort despite it being open and free for all.
  • Reply 29 of 123
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Don't they still need to patent their ideas to protect from others selling it or aspects if it as their own and so they have recourse to protect the standard from such action? For instance, doesn't Vesa have patents on DisplayPort despite it being open and free for all.





    no, because once the work is submitted to the working group it's considered prior art and any patent on it will be disqualified
  • Reply 30 of 123
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    I think people are missing the point of this rule that is in question.

    IF companies A, B and C are part of the "Widget working group",

    THEN company A, B or C can not claim ownership of technologies developed while working in the "Widget working group".



    Wrong. Companies get to make/claim and keep their own patents but have to license them for free.

    "Under the W3C's membership policies, those within the standards group -- including Apple -- are required to offer their patents royalty-free, which the company has so far refused to do, according to the report."
  • Reply 31 of 123
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


    no, because once the work is submitted to the working group it's considered prior art and any patent on it will be disqualified



    That's not quite right.



    Patents can, and often are, issued to the group, or the individual members. Some patents that are already owned can be kept.



    What has to be understood, is that despite these being "standards", they are not open. For something to be a standard, it must be protected from dilution by other entities.
  • Reply 32 of 123
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,530member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    Wrong. Companies get to make/claim and keep their own patents but have to license them for free.

    "Under the W3C's membership policies, those within the standards group -- including Apple -- are required to offer their patents royalty-free, which the company has so far refused to do, according to the report."



    It's not that simple. First all participants must agree that any particular patent is includable. Working group or not, the law doesn't allow members to strip any owner of IP of their properly defined rights.



    They can't just say, "That patent can be used by us for free.".
  • Reply 33 of 123
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    Wrong. Companies get to make/claim and keep their own patents but have to license them for free.

    "Under the W3C's membership policies, those within the standards group -- including Apple -- are required to offer their patents royalty-free, which the company has so far refused to do, according to the report."



    People keep repeating that line, but I have yet to see anyone provide a link or reference to the W3C policy that states that. In fact, the reference I provided in a previous post, which was a direct quote from the W3C policy, contradicts the statement you quoted in your post.
  • Reply 34 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post


    Wrong. Companies get to make/claim and keep their own patents but have to license them for free.

    "Under the W3C's membership policies, those within the standards group -- including Apple -- are required to offer their patents royalty-free, which the company has so far refused to do, according to the report."



    This would be true if Apple developed the widget technology while a member of the working group.





    It is the same concept as an employee-employer relationship.

    While working for a company, any patentable technology I develop is owned by my employer.

    But I don't loose my rights to patents I've secured prior to my employment with the company.

    If the company wants to use those patents, they would need to secure licenses for them.
  • Reply 35 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    All patents are evil. They've held rapid progress back since their inception. And for what, for the benefit of corporations? So they can milk their customers for a decade?



    There are plenty of cases of patents that have enabled inventors to get something in exchange for their work. Also, companies have a right to make some money from their R&D without having somebody copy it. Imagine a world where iPhone knockoffs were just as good as the original. If that happened, companies like Apple could not survive.



    Having said that, most software patents are evil, because they are baseless, poorly defined, make overbroad claims, etc. Also, software advances so quickly that standard patent periods (17 years) in effect stifle innovation. To the extent that software could be patented reasonably, the patent period should be no more than five years.



    The problem is that the patent process is so slow, that this would be unworkable. Also, a much higher bar needs to be set to grant software patents. Overall, I'd say software should not be patentable. Copyright law provides enough protection.
  • Reply 36 of 123
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    All patents are evil. They've held rapid progress back since their inception. And for what, for the benefit of corporations? So they can milk their customers for a decade?



    The patent system isn't perfect but it is far from evil. More so the patent system often protect the individual inventory of an item sometimes from those big corporations that you seem to think are the only ones benefiting from the patent system.



    The patent system has taken some wrong turns with respect to the software industry as there is no reasonable stretch that one can make that anything is "Invented" with respect to software. Especially considering that algorithms supposedly can't be patented. However the regressions with respect to software should not be used to condem patenting concrete inventions.



    The patent system really does level the playing field with respect to the individual inventor. It provides for a way to assure profits, given the management ability, for one inventive efforts. That actually stimulates invention and the economy. Look back into the early industrial age and the invention of the various steam engines. Patented engines actually encouraged the development of alternative designs. The same thing is happening today in the medical industry and the electronics industry.



    Yeah many times that means another device that does the same thing as the patented one but via different means. In a way though that is innovation. Further the process of finding alternative solutions often opens up the flood gates to solutions to other problems.



    Just imagine what the electronics and computer industry would be like if patents on CMOS technology didn't exist. It is very doubtful we would have innovated to the point we are today as quick as we have. There would simply have been no incentive to do so if you couldn't profit from the tech you have developed.



    Simply put patents are not evil but the system is not perfect either. A lot of good has come out of the system often in a way that has benefitted the small time inventor. Yeah sometimes big corporations benefit too just realize it isn't always the case.





    Dave
  • Reply 37 of 123
    Looks like a lot of people are missing something important:



    Apple's patent is a SOFTWARE PATENT.



    Software patents are evil.



    Patents in general are not necessarily evil, but software patents are.
  • Reply 38 of 123
    macslutmacslut Posts: 514member
    This is tough for Apple because it sounds like they got caught in a situation where way back when (actually not to long ago in terms of years), they couldn't foresee that one tech that they patented would be used in the way the W3C now wants to use it. I'm wondering if by licensing it, they can restrict its use only to ways that it won't compete with Apple (outside of browser use).



    Software patents are pretty much evil.



    The problem with them is that new technology comes out, and people can land-grab the patents without really protecting anything significant. Someone comes along much later and develops something, completely unaware of the patent, and the patent owner can wait until that latter product is successful and then sue for boatloads of money.



    As a software developer, you have a really hard time learning everything you need to, plus creating everything you need to, and with software patents, that's not good enough. You then need to deal with all of the legal issues. Of course, lawyers aren't developers, so you end up with two fields that require massive amounts of study that have nothing in common with each other, trying to figure out what can and can't be done.



    And in the end, software patents don't protect real innovation from being stolen.
  • Reply 39 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kresh View Post


    Somehow I don't think we are getting the full story. Apple's membership in the W3C's consortium does not give the consortium unlimited access to every patent that Apple holds.



    No one claimed that it did. But this patent has gotten in the way of an open web standard. Other members companies in the W3C recognize the value of open standards, and have issued royalty-free licenses.



    Quote:

    What if the group wants to wander into mobile device browser based UI's, and since Apple is a member, they make a clone of the iPhone experience.



    That is not what a web standard does. W3C doesn't make user interface. It creates specifications for technologies used to build stuff. You could build a UI using open standards, but no open standard would be an actual implementation of a UI.
  • Reply 40 of 123
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wheelhot View Post


    Not exactly, if there is no patent, what is stopping company A from doing an exact copy of Company B. Would you love to see all the money you spend on R&D ended up being copied by another company? I don't think so. And without patent, give me reason why would company innovate if their innovation ended up being copied within a period of time.



    This argument doesn't hold up when compared with reality. Opera is the most innovative browser, and other browsers keep borrowing features from Opera, including the top sites feature in Safari 4. Do you see Opera whining about that? Of course not. They have to keep innovating to stay ahead.



    Banning software patents causes innovation to accelerate because you can't just be a one-trick pony, rest on your laurels and watch the money flood in because you happened to patent a software algorithm that a lot of people are using.
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