W3C Procedures for Launching and Operating a Patent Advisory Group (PAG)

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This document specifies the procedures undertaken by the W3C Team, with the cooperation of others, in the early stages following the surfacing of an exception within the context of the W3C Patent Policy. In brief, an "exception" is a patent that has been, or may be, disclosed, and that is believed to be essential to implementation of a W3C Recommendation or a document on the Recommendation track, but is not available under W3C Royalty-Free (RF) licensing requirements. The normal results of such an exception is the launch of a Patent Advisory Group (PAG).

The purpose of documenting the procedures here is to ensure that the Team, the W3C Members, the Working Group (WG), the patent holder, and the public have a clear understanding of the events that may unfold in the wake of an exception, and the expected timeline for such events.

Status of this Document

This document was reviewed by the W3C Patents and Standards Interest Group in 2007 and published in the W3C Patent Policy FAQ in January 2008. Over time, the W3C expects acquire a larger set of best practices regarding PAG operations.

Procedures for Launching a PAG

Note: Some of the links to examples below are Member confidential. The REX PAG documents are given as examples of content, though the timeline on which they were issued was slower than is described below. See the principles behind these procedures.


The following deadlines ("must") and recommended ("should") deadlines are presented relative to the earlier of (a) the time of an exclusion within a WG, and (b) the time that a Chair of a WG requests that a PAG be convened.


The following steps must be completed prior to and at the launch of the PAG (links to existing examples are illustrative, and not necessarily ideal):

  1. Development of PAG Charter (REX PAG, Dec 2006).
  2. Creation of Supporting Systems
  3. Call for Participation
  4. Launch of the PAG
  5. Conclusion of the PAG: Refer to the W3C Patent Policy.

PAG Operations

How a PAG operates will depend largely upon its charter, the evolution of the facts and circumstances associated with the exception, and the Member initiatives. A subset of things to keep in mind during PAG operations:

Principles Behind These Procedures

The principles behind the launch procedures are derived from the W3C Patent Policy, and in particular, Section 7 on Exception Handling.

Steve Bratt, Rigo Wenning (rigo@w3.org)
Last revised $Date: 2016/05/10 10:11:17 $ by $Author: coralie $