Feeds

W3C sidesteps Apple over widget-patent

Nimble footwork could dodge legal elephant trap

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The W3C has spent the last three months poring over Apple's patent on remote updating, and the web standards organization thinks the patent can be avoided by careful wording and tweaking a couple of APIs.

Apple revealed its patent in March this year, throwing the W3C's attempts to create a standard for widgets into confusion and driving the organisation to launch an appeal for prior art, but now the Patent Advisory Group (PAG) has recommended that by making a couple of changes to the text, the Apple patent can be avoided entirely.

The process patented relates to the updating of widgets, or anything else. Apple's US patent number 5,764,992 covers software which is capable of updating itself with a more-recent version available from a remote server. At first glance, this might seem to cover any update mechanism, but the Patent Advisory Group set up by the W3C noticed that Apple's patent specifically covers software that can update itself, while widgets are reliant on a server which lets them know if they need to be updated.

So the API widgetupdate changes to updateinfo, widget.update() becomes checkForUpdate and update becomes updatedescription. That, along with a few textual changes, makes it explicit that widgets speak to a specially-designed server, thus bypassing Apple's patent which only covers applications capable of standing alone.

The wide scale support of the mobile industry for the OMTP's BONDI widget platform shows there's real enthusiasm for standardised AJAX-based applets, and the standard that can now be developed should be good for everyone - except Apple of course.

Apple participated in the first call set up by the PAG, but didn't attend subsequent meetings and at the time of writing hasn't responded to our enquiries into the matter. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.