A Question About the Licensing Conditions Listed in Patent Disclosures

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A Question About the Licensing Conditions Listed in Patent Disclosures

Jeffery Wong
Hello! I'm interested in the patent policy of W3C and writing this email to ask a question about some licensing conditions listed in some patent disclosures. According to the W3C patent policy, all participants in  a Work Group must agree to the W3C RF licensing requirement. If a participant does not agree to license a certain patent including essential claims under W3C RF licensing requirement, it should provoke the exclusion mechanism to exclude the essential claims. However, I found that some patent disclosures listed in the W3C website contain statements as "Not excluded, but not under Royalty-Free commitment". For example:
 
Does this kind of statement mean that the participant does not want to license the essential claims under the RF licensing condition as well as not to exclude them? Is such option acceptable in accordance with the W3C patent policy? Moreover, will a PAG be established concerning such essential claims?
 
Yours sincerely,
Jeffery Wong
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Re: A Question About the Licensing Conditions Listed in Patent Disclosures

Ian Jacobs-2

On Aug 16, 2013, at 12:39 PM, Jeffery Wong <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello! I'm interested in the patent policy of W3C and writing this email to ask a question about some licensing conditions listed in some patent disclosures. According to the W3C patent policy, all participants in  a Work Group must agree to the W3C RF licensing requirement. If a participant does not agree to license a certain patent including essential claims under W3C RF licensing requirement, it should provoke the exclusion mechanism to exclude the essential claims. However, I found that some patent disclosures listed in the W3C website contain statements as "Not excluded, but not under Royalty-Free commitment". For example:
> http://www.w3.org/2004/01/pp-impl/p76
> http://www.w3.org/2004/01/pp-impl/p77
> http://www.w3.org/2004/01/pp-impl/p83
>  
> Does this kind of statement mean that the participant does not want to license the essential claims under the RF licensing condition as well as not to exclude them? Is such option acceptable in accordance with the W3C patent policy? Moreover, will a PAG be established concerning such essential claims?

Jeffrey,

My understanding is this:

 * An organization that does not join a W3C Working Group has no licensing obligation under the W3C Patent Policy.
 * That organization may disclose a patent it believes has essential claims.
 * Since the organization has no licensing obligation, they have "nothing to exclude" (by definition)

Thus you have:
 * a disclosed patent believed to have essential claims.
 * no licensing commitment under the W3C patent policy
 * no exclusion

You asked whether we form a PAG in these cases: yes because (per section 7.1 of the patent policy [1]):

 "In the event a patent has been disclosed that may be essential, but is not available under W3C RF licensing requirements,
  a Patent Advisory Group (PAG) will be launched to resolve the conflict."

Hope that helps,

Ian

[1] http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Patent-Policy-20040205/#sec-Exception

>  
> Yours sincerely,
> Jeffery Wong

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Ian Jacobs <[hidden email]>      http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
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