Call for prior art on Patent 5,764,992

On 5 March 2009, pursuant to its rights under W3C's Patent Policy, Apple, Inc. disclosed US patent 5,764,992 and claimed that it applies to the Web Application WG's Widgets 1.0: Updates specification. Apple excluded all claims from the W3C Royalty-Free License commitment of the W3C Patent Policy given by Participants of the Web Applications Working Group.



W3C established the Patent Policy with the goal of producing Royalty-Free Specifications. In accordance with the exception procedures of the policy, W3C launched a Patent Advisory Group (PAG) to determine possible solutions. A PAG may reach a number of conclusions, including:

  1. advising the Working Group to try to design around the patent, and
  2. advising W3C to search for prior art

The PAG advised W3C to issue this public call for prior art.

Call for Prior Art

The PAG seeks information about software update systems available before June 1995 that offer a viable solution that may apply to the use of updates in Widgets. Such information could suggest ways to define a specification that can achieve the working group's goals without implementers infringing on the disclosed patent.

By making this call, neither the PAG nor the W3C make nor imply any comment whatsoever on the relevance or validity of Apple's claims.

Feedback should be directed to the PAG's public mailing-list: public-widgets-pag@w3.org

About the Widgets Updates PAG

More information on the Widgets Updates PAG:

The PAG was triggered by Apple's exclusion of US patent 5,764,992 as disclosed by Apple Inc.: Method and apparatus for automatic software replacement

The Widgets Updates Patent Advisory Group is chartered to study issues and propose solutions related to a patent disclosure from Apple, Inc., concerning the Widgets 1.0: Updates Working Draft.

Rigo Wenning (W3C) is Chair of the PAG. The W3C Staff Contacts for the Widgets Updates PAG are Doug Schepers and Michael(tm) Smith.


What is the goal of this page?

Apple Inc. participates in the Web Application Working Group. In application of the exclusion rights they have according to the W3C Patent Policy, Apple Inc. excluded Patent Nr. 5,764,992 from its Royalty Free commitment given upon joining the Web Applications Working Group. According to Apple Inc., Patent Nr.5,764,992 reads on the Widget Updates Specification. Apple Inc.'s exclusion triggered a Patent Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG is using this page to collect links and hints to technology that may help to circumvent the patent. This information may be useful to help the Web Applications Working Group to design around the excluded patent and allow for a Royalty Free Widget Updates Specification.

Does Apple participate in the PAG?

Apple Inc. is a necessary Participant in the Patent Advisory Group along with all AC Reps of all the Participants of the Web Applications Working Group. While the W3C Patent Policy has the goal to ensure that W3C Specifications are implementable on a Royalty Free basis, it also protects valuable assets of W3C Members participating in Specification work by allowing them to opt out of the RF commitments.

Does Work on the Widget Updates Specification have to stop now?

No. The work on the Widget Updates Specification can continue in parallel to the Patent Advisory Group. Nevertheless, Widget Updates will not be able to enter the status of Proposed Recommendation as long as the PAG is running.

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