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Apple accused of using junk patents to delay W3C standard

updated 02:05 pm EST, Mon December 19, 2011

No obvious motivation mentioned

Apple may be intentionally delaying the creation of a formal standard for how touchscreen devices interact with web content, claims Haavard, one of the developers behind the Opera web browser. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is currently at work on the standard, known as the Touch Events Specification. Apple, though, has allegedly submitted "invalid or irrelevant" patent claims in a way that is holding up the specification's progress.

In particular Apple has submitted one granted patent and three patent applications that will demand time to evaluate. As evidence that Apple is intentionally trying to delay proceedings, Haavard notes that the company made its submission on November 11th, even though the deadline for such claims is December 26th. More importantly, Apple is said to have taken a similar approach with W3C widget issues in 2009 and 2010, which in both cases required the creation of Patent Advisory Groups that ultimately dismissed Apple's assertions as irrelevant.

The company is also absent from the Touch Events working group, which would've required submitting patent claims earlier. If Apple is intentionally trying to delay the Touch Events Specification, though, its motivations are unclear. The company may be hesitant about having to make Safari conform to a new W3C standard. Such a standard could theoretically help competitors as well, by improving web browsing on their devices.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Greengo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ok, so

    If a company was really trying to delay this, they wouldn't submit these almost a month and a half before the deadline. They would wait until the very last minute to the deadline and then submit them. The fact that there is a deadline would indicate that the W3C would expect submissions and also be prepared to react to these submissions.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This article is slightly weird...

    Although if there is complaining it invariably comes from the Opera browser group and none of the other browsers. Opera must be the most insufficient of all the browsers and want others to wait until they catch up. This must be a hobby for them!
    Who uses this browser anyway? Have they got Europe in their back pocket?

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    but if ...

    but if it will require time to evaluate, how do they know it is a junk patent?

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nov 11th instead of Dec 26th?

    Would you really expect Apple to wait until the staff was out of the office to file for a patent? Using that weak argument, one could argue Apple was trying to thwart Thanksgiving. Regardless of the dates for patent submissions, Apple has IP to protect and is under no obligation to license it to anyone including for the purpose of "standardization".

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple Scumbags grasping

    for straws, trying to delay the inevitable.

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