Patents and Standards Interest Group Charter

The Patent and Standards Interest Group (PSIG) is designed as a forum for W3C Members to discuss matters regarding the W3C Patent Policy in particular and larger issues regarding patents and Web standards. The PSIG is an advisory group; it does not make final policy decisions on behalf of W3C.

Join the Patents and Standards Interest Group.

End date 1 December 2009
Confidentiality Proceedings are Member-only
Initial Chairs Daniel J. Weitzner, Donald Deutsch
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 5)
Rigo Wenning
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: The Interest Group may also conduct virtual meetings using email, IRC, wiki and teleconference facilities
Face-to-face: The Interest Group may on occasion meet or sponsor "Birds-Of-a-Feather" sessions at conferences, W3C Advisory Committee Meetings or Technical Plenaries or alongside other W3C meetings, at the discretion of the Co-Chairs.

Overview and Background

In May 2003, the W3C Director, on the advice of the W3C Membership, approved the W3C Patent Policy as the governing document for patent matters in W3C Recommendations. The policy affirms and strengthens the basic business model that has driven innovation on the Web from its inception. The availability of an interoperable, unencumbered Web infrastructure provides an expanding foundation for innovative applications, profitable commerce, and the free flow of information and ideas, on a commercial and non-commercial basis. Beyond establishing a commitment to royalty-free (RF) standards, the policy provides W3C with:

The Patent Policy Working Group, which developed the policy over a more than three year period, completed its work by assisting the Team with the implementation of the policy. This Patents and Standards Interest Group was formed in December 2004 to provide an ongoing forum for discussion of general issues regarding implementation of the policy and to exchange views on other related matters of importance. While authorizing continuation in this initial mode, this revised charter also charges PSIG to provide feedback on whether changes to the Patent Policy are desirable.

Mission Statement

The Patent and Standards Interest Group (PSIG) is a forum for W3C Members and Invited Experts to discuss policy issues regarding the implementation of the W3C Patent Policy as well as new Patent-related questions that arise which require action or attention from the W3C Membership. The PSIG has no authority to create new policy. However, input from the PSIG on the operation of the policy and areas that might require further policy development by a W3C Working Group is welcome.

The Patent and Standards Interest Group is a forum open to those responsible for patent policy matters in W3C Member organizations as well as a limited number of Invited Experts.


The primary purpose of the Patent and Standards Interest Group is to exchange views and flag issues regarding the W3C Patent Policy. The PSIG may issue non-binding Interest Group Notes on specific Patent Policy issues. It may recommend to the W3C Team and Advisory Committee any actions that it feels are worthy of consideration. The PSIG will not issue new policies. It may not issue any opinions regarding the application of specific patents to W3C specifications, nor may it offer legal advice to any other W3C body.


As an Interest Group, the PSIG issues neither Recommendations nor other binding policy documents. The PSIG may be called upon to offer advice on patent policy matters, but not on issues related to specific W3C Recommendations or individual Working Groups.

The PSIG is responsible for maintaining the Patent Policy FAQ. The PSIG reviews proposed entries to it as follows: The initiative to add a FAQ entry may start with either the Team or the PSIG. If it starts with the Team, the Team proposes the FAQ entry to the PSIG. One PSIG co-Chair must reply within 7 days with one of these two dispositions:

The PSIG will report at least annually to the Advisory Committee on its activities including issues identified, resolved or unresolved.


Informal coordination is done via the Interest Group's mailing lists. The PSIG may coordinate with the W3C Advisory Board as needed, as well as relevant institutions in the standards and public policy communities around the world.


Any W3C Member may nominate up to 3 participants to the PSIG. The Co-Chairs may invite qualified Invited Experts to participate in the PSIG in accordance with the Invited Expert provisions in the Process Document.


The Patents and Standards Interest Group is a Member-only forum. PSIG mailing lists and their archives are Member-accessible. The Interest Group functions primarily through an email discussion list hosted by W3C. The main IG list is <member-psig@w3.org> with a Member accessible archive. It is expected that face-to-face meetings will take place on the order of once or twice each year, or as necessary, at the discretion of the Co-Chairs. If it is agreed that there is a need to develop an Interest Group Note to document changes to the Patent Policy that the IG believes should be considered, the IG could be expected to convene teleconferences on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, in addition to the aforementioned face-to-face meetings.

The Interest Group communicates in English.

Information about the group is available from the Patents and Standards Interest Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

Patent Disclosures

The Patents and Standards Interest Group provides an opportunity to share perspectives on the topic addressed by this charter. W3C reminds Interest Group participants of their obligation to comply with patent disclosure obligations as set out in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy. While the Interest Group does not produce Recommendation-track documents, when Interest Group participants review Recommendation-track specifications from Working Groups, the patent disclosure obligations do apply.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Patents and Standards Interest Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.


  1. Don Deutsch (Oracle), co-Chair
  2. Daniel Weitzner (W3C), co-Chair
  3. Rigo Wenning (W3C), Team Contact

Please also see the previous charter for this group.

Don Deutsch & Danny Weitzner

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