Feeds

W3C sidesteps Apple over widget-patent

Nimble footwork could dodge legal elephant trap

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
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
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
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
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.