Patents and Standards Interest Group Charter

The Patents and Standards Interest Group (PSIG) is designed as a forum for W3C Members to discuss matters regarding the W3C Patent Policy as well as W3C copyright in particular and larger issues regarding patents, licenses and Web standards. The PSIG is an Interest Group that gives feedback to the W3C Team, the Advisory Board and the Advisory Committee; PSIG does not make final policy decisions on behalf of W3C.

Join the Patents and Standards Interest Group.

End date 31 March 2024
Confidentiality Proceedings are Member-only
Chair Donald Deutsch (Oracle)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 10)
Rigo Wenning (5%), Wendy Seltzer (5%)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: The Interest Group may also conduct virtual meetings using email, IRC, wiki and teleconference facilities
Face-to-face: The Patents and Standards Interest Group may meet face-to-face on the order of once or twice each year. It may also 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 Chair(s).

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 Patent Policy Working Group (PPWG), which developed that policy over a more than three year period, assisted the Team with the implementation of the policy, and the PPWG then closed.

The W3C Patent Policy affirms and strengthens the basic patent licensing model that has driven innovation on the Web from its inception. The availability of an interoperable, unencumbered (i.e. royalty-free) Web infrastructure provides an expanding foundation for innovative applications, profitable commerce, and the free flow of information and ideas. The W3C Patent Policy encourages both commercial and non-commercial implementations of W3C Recommendations. Beyond establishing a commitment to royalty-free standards, the Patent Policy provides W3C with:

The Patents and Standards Interest Group (PSIG) was formed in December 2004 to provide an ongoing forum for discussion of general issues regarding implementation of the Patent Policy and to exchange views on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Upon request, PSIG continues to provide feedback on whether changes to the Patent Policy are desirable and how those changes might look.

Over time, PSIG has been asked for feedback on a variety of non-patent intellectual property questions. For example, PSIG opinions helped the W3C Team define the Community Group Licensing Agreement. In the discussion around HTML5 licensing, PSIG helped the Advisory Board evaluate licensing alternatives.

In 2019-2020, PSIG helped to draft and review an update to the W3C Patent Policy to align with Process 2020. On the advice of the Membership, W3C adopted that policy on 15 September, 2020.

This PSIG Charter continues the established practice for PSIG to discuss and provide feedback on IPR matters. This Charter also permits the PSIG to draft or suggest amended or additional patent policy documents.

Mission Statement

PSIG is a forum for W3C Members and Invited Experts to discuss and provide feedback to the W3C Team, the Advisory Board and the Advisory Committee on IPR questions.

PSIG may suggest further policy development and draft documents for such additional policies. Any policy development would be subject to Advisory Committee and Director review.


The W3C Team, Advisory Board and Advisory Committee may request that the PSIG provide feedback regarding the W3C Patent Policy, issues related to patent commitments for participants in current and proposed W3C activities (for example, continuous development), and other IPR issues. The PSIG may also exchange views and flag issues regarding the W3C Patent Policy. It may produce non-binding Interest Group Notes on those specific issues.

The PSIG will review, but is not responsible for formally documenting or implementing, W3C IPR policies.


As an Interest Group, the PSIG issues neither Recommendations nor other binding policy documents. It may draft policy documents or amendments to existing policy documents for Advisory Comittee review.

The PSIG is responsible for maintaining the Patent Policy FAQ. W3C participants can raise questions or comments on the W3C Patent Policy or Patent Policy FAQ via the Patents and Standards Interest Group public comment mailing list, or to W3C Team. The PSIG reviews proposed FAQ changes or new FAQ entries as follows:

The initiative to add or modify 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. If it starts with the PSIG, any PSIG participant may raise an issue to the attention of PSIG, Chair(s), and Team, with or without a proposed disposition. One PSIG Chair must reply within 7 days with one of these two dispositions:

The PSIG shall report at least annually to the Advisory Committee on its activities.


The PSIG will coordinate with the W3C Advisory Board, the Advisory Committee and the W3C Team on IPR matters raised. During considerations and as needed, PSIG can informally liaise with the relevant institutions in the standards and public policy communities around the world. Informal coordination is done via the Interest Group's mailing lists.


Any W3C Member may nominate up to 3 participants to the PSIG. The Chair(s) may invite qualified Invited Experts to participate in the PSIG in accordance with the Invited Expert provisions in the Process Document.

To the extent that PSIG participants are attorneys, they shall not be deemed to provide legal advice to W3C. Discussions, even about legal topics and while focused on a use case, are mere discussions and do not represent a legal opinion, express or implied.


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 PSIG 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 Chair(s).

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 give feedback when there is consensus. When the Chair(s) puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair(s) shall record any objections and a decision (possibly after a formal vote), and move on. Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document applies.

Patent Policy

The Patents and Standards Interest Group provides an opportunity to share perspectives on the topic addressed by this charter. While the Interest Group does not produce Recommendation-track documents, when Interest Group participants review Recommendation-track specifications from Working Groups, the disclosure obligations set out in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy 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 5.2.2 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 Document shall take precedence.

Extension history:

  1. PSIG was initially created 17 December 2004.
  2. Extension on 13 December 2007 until 1 March 2008.
  3. New changed charter runs until 1 December 2009
  4. 1 December 2009 until 1 December 2011, changed charter with adapted FAQ revision procedure
  5. Charter extended on 9 November 2011 until 1 December 2012.
  6. Charter renewed and extended to intellectual property rights on 3 July until 31 December 2014
  7. Charter extended on 10 December 2014 until 31 December 2015.
  8. Charter extended on 16 December 2015 through 31 March 2016.
  9. Charter extended in April 2016 through 31 December, 2017, correcting reference to Process section
  10. Charter extended in December 2017 through 31 December, 2018, and again through 31 March, 2019
  11. Re-chartered in April 2019 through 31 March, 2021 with authority to draft policies for Membership consideration.
  12. Re-charter for 2021-2024, adding a paragraph on Patent Policy 2020 to the background section.


  1. Don Deutsch (Oracle), Chair
  2. Rigo Wenning (W3C), Team Contact
  3. Wendy Seltzer (W3C), Team Contact

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