Invited Expert Agreement - 2015 version

1. Introduction

W3C, as an organization, only accepts membership from organizations. To be able to work with individual experts in W3C Groups, W3C has a system of so called "Invited Experts".

It is common that the Chair or the Team Contact of a given W3C Group invite individual Experts to participate in the W3C Group in order to improve the resulting Specification and in order to allow individuals with expertise in specific areas not otherwise available in these Groups to participate in W3C work. As W3C is a Member organization, there are limits to the number and the type of people being invited in order to avoid discouraging W3C Membership of organizations.

Invited Experts are accepted by W3C to work in a specific Working Group or Interest Group. Sometimes the Group is Member confidential, another Group may be open to the public.

This document establishes the rules and legal conditions for invited experts accepted by W3C. It governs their relationship to W3C and their participation in W3C Groups.

Further information about the Invited Expert application can be found at:

2. W3C Process

W3C develops technical Specifications called Technical Reports. Those Technical Reports are built following a predefined Process that is laid down in the W3C Process Document. The Invited Expert hereby recognizes that his or her activities in W3C are guided and ruled by the then current W3C Process Document. Violation of the W3C Process is ground for termination of the Invited Expert Agreement by W3C (see section 5.).

W3C is hosted by MIT, ERCIM, Keio University and Beihang University. Contractual rights and obligations out of this Agreement benefit all four Host organizations. Each Host organization of W3C is entitled to manage and enforce all rights out of this Agreement.

2.1 Member Access

W3C may, at its discretion, grant Invited Experts access to Member confidential information, generally based on the level of confidentiality of meeting records and other proceedings described in a group charter. This access includes mailing-lists, website, tools, teleconferences and meetings. W3C seeks to ensure that all Invited Experts in a given W3C Group have the access necessary to enable the group to conduct its work.

Invited Experts participating in work open to the public do not have access to Member confidential information and have no right to require such access unless they are also Invited Experts in a W3C Group which operates in W3C Member space. They accept that some of their communication may be sent to Member confidential mailing lists where they do not have access. If, on an exceptional basis, Invited Experts without regular access to Member confidential information are invited to a Member confidential meeting or participate there by accident, they are bound by the Member confidentiality obligations like an Invited Expert with regular Member access.

2.2 Copyright

Copyright is a very important part of standardization activities. It allows the standards development organization to maintain vendor neutral control over a specification, and thus protect the consensus found within a Working Group.

In the course of the development of materials within W3C, Invited Experts will make contributions. Those contributions will be integrated into the jointly developed work thus creating shared copyright on the Invited Expert's contribution. Most W3C Specifications contain a section with acknowledgement of contributions.

The Invited Expert hereby grants to W3C a perpetual, nonexclusive, royalty-free, world-wide right and license under any Invited Expert's copyrights on his or her contributions, to copy, publish and distribute the contribution under a license of W3C's choosing. Additionally, the Invited Expert grants a right and license of the same scope to any derivative works prepared by W3C and based on, or incorporating all or part of, his or her contribution and that any derivative works of this contribution prepared by W3C shall be solely owned by W3C. Furthermore, the Invited Expert understands that W3C will be able to exercise all rights as a copyright owner of Invited Expert's contribution, including enforcement against infringers without additional agreement or notice.

Nothing in this agreement restricts the Invited Expert from using their individual contributions as they wish, even if those have later been amalgamated into joint works.

Where W3C releases materials under a permissive license such as the W3C Software License or CC-BY, nothing in this agreement should be read to restrict the Invited Expert from exercising the permissions granted by that license.

The Invited Experts represent that they are legally entitled to grant the above license. If their employer(s) have rights to intellectual property that the Invited Expert creates that includes the contributions, they represent that they have received permission to make contributions on behalf of that employer or that the employer has waived such rights for the contributions to W3C.

2.3 Patent Policy

The Invited Experts represent that they are legally entitled to grant the necessary licenses for their contribution as described in the Patent Policy, especially in Section 3.4 thereof. If the Invited Experts' employer(s) have rights to intellectual property that the Invited Experts create that includes their contributions, they represent that they have received permission to make the relevant licensing commitments according to the W3C Patent Policy on behalf of that employer.

2.4 Decency

Invited Expert will participate in the W3C Group in a decent way. Invited Experts will refrain from defaming, harassing or otherwise offending other participants. The Invited Expert agrees to indemnify and hold W3C harmless from any dispute which may arise from a breach of terms of this Agreement. The Section of the Process Document applies.

The Invited Expert refrains from sending unsolicited commercial messages to W3C mailing-lists and other promotional activities for personal matters or for third parties. This is especially required from Invited Experts sending messages to public W3C Groups.

2.5 Confidentiality

Invited Experts participating in Member-confidential work are bound by the Member-confidentiality obligation as expressed in the Member agreement as any other Participant from a W3C Member organization by the W3C Member confidentiality as defined in Section 7.2 of the Process Document. Violation of W3C Member Confidentiality is deemed a grave violation of this Agreement and is ground for termination of the Invited Expert Agreement by W3C (see section 5.)

Capabilities are granted to the individual Invited Expert, not the organization with which he or she may be affiliated. Invited Experts should limit communications relevant to the proceeding of Member activities to others bound by the member or participant agreements unless a part of their role is sharing selected information with the public or external communities.

2.6 Use of Names

Neither Invited Experts nor their employers will use the name of W3C, MIT, ERCIM or KEIO without prior permission. In return W3C, MIT, ERCIM or KEIO will not use the name of the Participant in any form of publicity without prior permission. This is often determined by the policy of the W3C Group with respect to contributions to a deliverable or press release attribution.

3. Participation cost

The cost for participation in W3C work, including telecommunication costs, travel costs and all other costs incurred by the participation in W3C work will reside solely with the Invited Expert. On an exceptional basis W3C may grant some compensation for travel expenses and/or collaboration.

4. Notifications

The Invited Expert will notify W3C of any change in affiliation and other aspects relevant for this relationship. This includes any possible conflicts of interest that might arise. Such conflicts may arise from participation in other work on standards and consulting relationships in technology areas competing with the work the Expert was invited for. Section of the W3C Process Document applies.

Such notifications should be sent to the Team-Contact of the W3C Group the Expert is invited to with cc to

In all notifications and communications, Invited Experts will, to the best of their knowledge, convey complete and true information.

5. Duration and Termination

The duration of the Invited Expert's participation is determined and fixed by W3C, and archived. The Participation can be renewed one or more times. At the completion of the Invited Expert's term, W3C will terminate the relationship and remove all privileges without being obliged to give prior notice.

Either party may end the relationship at their discretion. The relationship of the parties under this Agreement shall be that of a voluntary association. This Agreement does not create a partnership or joint venture. Neither W3C, nor the Participant can bind the other or create any relationship of principal or agent.

Invited Experts are subject to the same commitment as any other Member of the W3C Group they are invited to. If the required commitment is not fulfilled, W3C might close accounts and end privileges of any Invited Expert without prior notice.

Even in the event of termination of the Invited Expert relationship sections 2.2, 2.3, 2.5 and 2.6 will persist.

6. Assignment

As the relationship of the Invited Expert with W3C is as an individual relationship, all assignments to any third party are not permissible. Assignments in violation of this clause are null and void.

7. Choice of Law

This Agreement shall be construed and controlled by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA. Further, the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA, will govern any dispute arising from the terms of this agreement or a breach of this Agreement. The Invited Expert agrees to personal jurisdiction by the state and federal courts sitting in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

8. About this Document

This version:

Latest version:

Previous version:


Rigo Wenning, Legal Counsel,

Coralie Mercier, Head of communications,

Last Changes:

2015-08-12: Major update validated by W3M that removes language on not branching contributions as requested by the AB. At the same time, changed all links to the Process Document to the short link

2015-04-26: On AB request allowed further use of own contributions even to fragment the market. Fixed a publication issue to streamline with new licensing policy

2014-12-01: Fixes: Now says "Commonwealth" of Massachusetts instead of "State". Also fixed a broken link.

2014-08-01: Document adapted to the changes introduced by the change of the 2014 Process Document

2018-02-01: Document adapted to the changes introduced by the change of the 2018 Process Document