W3C calls for prior art on Apple patent
The W3C has issued a call for prior art on Apple's patent 7,743,336 and patent application 20070101146. The W3C is seeking prior art related to content distribution and the use of access request policies in widgets. The patent applications were filed in 2006 and 2007. Apple revealed the existence of the patent applications to the W3C in 2009, as part of the W3C's Patent Policy process. The W3C are developing the Widget Access Request Policy specification and Apple believes that its patent is "essential" to that specification.
Apple claimed, as is its right under the patent policy, that the claims of its patent should be excluded from the W3C's Royalty Free Licence terms. At that point, the W3C's exception procedure was triggered and, in 2010, the W3C started a Patent Advisory Group (PAG) to come up with possible solutions. It is this PAG that has now recommended a call for prior art.
This isn't the first time that Apple has triggered the W3C Patent Policy's exception clauses; in June 2009, a PAG was formed when Apple asserted its rights over patent 5,764,992 with regard to the Widgets Update specification. In that case the PAG reported that, after a call for prior art, it considered the patent was not essential to the specification.