W3C Patent Policy Transition Procedure

All Groups are operating under the W3C Patent Policy. This document is no longer applicable.

This document describes how W3C will implement the W3C Patent Policy in new and existing Groups. The Director approved the W3C Patent Policy, developed by the Patent Policy Working Group, on 20 May 2003 (cf. announcement to the Advisory Committee [Member-only link]). The 5 February 2004 Patent Policy, which includes only very minor administrative changes from the 20 May 2003 version, is effective starting on 15 February 2004. The W3C Patent Policy is being implemented in a phased process that uses the W3C Patent Policy for newly-chartered Working Groups, allows the possibility for existing Working Groups with no new deliverables to remain under the 24 January 2002 Current Patent Practice Note (in this document, "CPP") as amended by this transition procedure, allows the possibility of earlier transition to the W3C Patent Policy, and other options as described below.

Status of this Document

This document incorporates review by the Advisory Board and Advisory Committee as a result of the December 2003 Call for Advisory Committee Review (Member-only link) of the draft Procedure document (Member-only link).

The non-editorial changes since the draft reviewed by the Advisory Committee are:

On 26 May 2004, the definition of "Participating Member" was fixed. The original definition was incorrect as it identified Participating Members as those who had joined "according to the requirements of section 6.2.1 of the 5 February 2004 Process Document"; that version of the Process Document was published along with the transition procedure, and thus no participants had yet joined according to those terms. The corrected definition identifies a Participating Member in terms of good standing, which was the primary criterion in the operative Process Document prior to 5 February 2004.

Please address questions about this document to www-patentpolicy-comment@w3.org (public archive).


  1. Impact of Transition Procedure on Working Groups
  2. Considerations When an Existing Group Switches to the W3C Patent Policy
  3. General Adoption of W3C Patent Policy Provisions
  4. Definitions

W3C makes available the following additional resources for understanding the W3C Patent Policy:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the W3C Patent Policy
  2. Summary of the W3C Patent Policy

1. Impact of Transition Procedure on the Groups

All existing Working Groups are encouraged to start early to consider the options presented below, to work toward developing an understanding among Participating Members concerning the policy option most suitable for the situation and future plans of the Working Group. To give existing Working Groups more time to prepare:

1.1 New Working Groups

1.2 Existing Groups Currently Covered by the CPP

1.2.1 Proposal to revise charter, not including new deliverables

For revisions to charters scheduled to take effect on or after 15 February 2004:

1.2.2 Proposal to revise charter, including new deliverables

For revisions to charters scheduled to take effect on or after 15 February 2004:

1.2.3 Technical Architecture Group

1.3 Existing Groups not Currently Covered by the CPP

For revisions scheduled to take effect on or after 15 February 2004:

1.4 Advisory Committee Review of Revised Charters

Advisory Committee review of a revised charter is required unless the changes are limited to any combination of the following:

2. Considerations when a New Charter for an Existing Working Group is Revised to Include the W3C Patent Policy

When a new charter for an existing Working Group is revised to include the W3C Patent Policy:

3. Consortium-Wide Adoption of W3C Patent Policy Provisions

As of 15 February 2004:

This means that the CPP is amended by this transition procedure as follows:

  1. The disclosure rules of section 3 are superseded by those of section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.
  2. The PAG procedures described in section 4 are superseded by those described in section 7 of the W3C Patent Policy
  3. The definition of "Essential Claim" of appendix 6 is superseded by the definitions in section 8 of the W3C Patent Policy (which are considerably clearer).
  4. The definition of "Royalty-Free License" of appendix 6 is superseded by the requirements in section 5 of the W3C Patent Policy.

4. Definitions

Participating Member
A W3C Member that has at least one representative in good standing (as defined in section of the 18 June 2003 Process Document) at the time the Call for Votes to change to the W3C Patent Policy is issued for that group.
As defined in section 3.3 of the W3C Process document, consensus means that no AC Representatives of Participating Members object to the change. The proposed action is not blocked from moving forward by AC Representatives who either do not vote or explicitly abstain.

Steve Bratt, Chief Operating Officer
Contributors to this document include Ian Jacobs, Danny Weitzner, Alan Kotok and Members of the W3C.
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