W3C, Apple Get into Patent Conflict over HTML 5

The World Wide Web Consortium has published a call for prior art on two Apple patents related to HTML 5 web standards.

The consortium seeks to get Apple’s two patents invalidated, which are related to access control systems and widget security.

The organisation wants to make all technologies related to HTML 5 royalty free but Apple has asked to exclude its patents from the W3C Royalty-Free License commitment which is a part of the W3C Patent Policy. The iPhone maker had told the W3C about the patents on November 13, 2009.

In order to study the patent exclusion claims, the W3C set up a Patent Advisory Group, which has suggested the call for prior art to invalidate Apple’s claims.

The W3C is calling for information on access control systems before October 2005 and content distribution systems before April 2006.

“If a patent holder refuses to accept the W3C's terms, the W3C may try to have that patent invalidated (or a patent application rejected). If that effort succeeds, the specification is, again, patent-unencumbered. If not, the W3C can still evaluate possible workarounds or, if there's no workaround, give up on a standard,” Florian Mueller commented on his blog.