W3C launches prior art search against Apple patent
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has launched a search for prior art in order to challenge an Apple patent. The patent, which Apple disclosed to the Web Application working group in March, deals with a process for automatic software updates. Apple's patent, 5,764,992 was disclosed as part of the W3C's patent policy, with Apple requesting that the claims in the patent be excluded from the W3C Royalty-Free Licence arrangements.
In the next stage of the process, the W3C convened a patent advisory group, who could recommend either working around the patent, or issuing a call for prior art. In this case, the advisory group recommended a call for prior art. The W3C are now seeking information about software update systems available before June 1995, when Apple applied for the patent. In the meantime, work continues on the Widgets 1.0: Updates specification, but will not be able to progress to a "Proposed Recommendation" while the patent advisory group is convened.