This document is approved by the PAG Members as a PAG Conclusion.
In response to a disclosure of Intellectual Property, French Patent FR2962237, (the "Disclosed Patent") claimed to bear on Web Components Specifications, the Web Components Patent Advisory Group concludes that the Disclosed Patent does not read on the Custom Elements, HTML Imports, or Shadow DOM specifications (collectively, "Web Components Specifications").
The Web Components PAG has reached the following conclusions:
Consequently, the Web Components API PAG does not believe that changes are necessary to the Web Components Specifications with regard to the disclosure, and recommends that work on the Web Components Specifications should be continued.
The W3C Web Applications (WebApps) Working Group was chartered to develop specifications including a set of specifications to enable the creation and deployment of "web components", developing on the work done and lessons learned through work on XBL, sXBL and XBL 2.0. This work was subsequently carried through the succeeding Web Apps charter, and to the Web Platform Working Group through its charter.
The goal of the W3C Patent Policy is to assure that Recommendations produced under this policy can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis. Patent Advisory Groups are formed when patent claims are asserted against or expressly excluded from royalty-free commitment for implementations of W3C Recommendations. That assertion happened when M. Aymeric Vitte reported that he held French patent FR2962237B1, which he claimed bears on Web Components work, and for which he was not prepared to offer a royalty-free license.
This section traces the necessary procedural steps following the patent exclusion and the creation of the Patent Advisory Group.
M. Vitte has provided comments to the Web Apps group of a technical nature since at least 1 August 2013. During the period 2 April 2013 to 6 March 2015 he was an invited expert in the Web Cryptography Working Group, but at no point was he a member of the Web Applications Working Group, nor had he made any licensing commitment on the specifications of that group's work.
On 20 May 2015, one of the WebApps chairs, Art Barstow disclosed through a message to the W3C's general archive mailing list that M. Vitte held French Patent FR2962237, noting that M. Vitte claimed that it covered aspects of the work on Web Components.
There are three specifications in the Web Components family of specifications:
The Web Components Patent Advisory Group (hereafter "the PAG") was set up on 2 February, 2016 according to the rules set forth in Section 7 of the Patent Policy and in conformance with the rules set forth in the Procedures for Launching and Operating a Patent Advisory Group. At its first teleconference the PAG resolved to amend its charter to work in member-only mode.
M. Vitte was not invited to attend the PAG.
The PAG did not issue a call for prior art.
In summary: Art Barstow forwarded a disclosure of the patent by forwarding a message received from M. Vitte, which did not offer the patent under a Royalty-Free license. The PAG was created following the relevant rules.
The Web Components PAG believes that the Disclosed Patent's claims do not read on the Web Components Specifications because the patent explicitly rejects the technical approach used in the Web Components Specifications as part of the prior art. The Disclosed Patent teaches away from the approach taken by the Web Components Specifications to differentiate its approach from the prior art. Because the Web Components Specifications follow the approach used by the prior art, they do not use the techniques claimed by the Disclosed Patent.
The Web Components, HTML Imports and Shadow DOM specifications define particular format requirements, such as those considered and explicitly rejected in the Disclosed Patent.
In addition, the PAG has learned that the Disclosed Patent was acquired in 2016 by RPX Corporation. RPX states that "Every patent we acquire is defensive; RPX does not assert or litigate its patents."
The Disclosed Patent does not read on the Web Components Specifications.
The PAG recommends that work on the Web Components Specification should be continued without PAG-related change.
None of the authors is your attorney. No part of this report is intended as legal advice either to W3C or to its members. It is intended merely as a summary of what the PAG has learned to date. Rely on this report entirely at your own risk. This analysis includes the personal opinions of the authors.
THESE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE WEB COMPONENTS PATENT ADVISORY GROUP ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. NEITHER W3C NOR ANY OF THE PARTICIPANTS OF THIS PATENT ADVISORY GROUP OR THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYERS TAKES ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY, LEGAL CORRECTNESS OR OTHER FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS REPORT. ESPECIALLY, NEITHER W3C NOR ANY OF THE PARTICIPANTS OF THIS PATENT ADVISORY GROUP OR ANY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYERS MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION THAT FOLLOWING THE RECOMMENDATIONS HERE WILL AVOID AN INFRINGEMENT OF ANY PATENTS MENTIONED IN THE REPORT.$Id: wc-pag-report.html,v 1.9 2016/05/03 15:14:22 wseltzer Exp $