Ethan Marcotte now blogs at Unstoppable Robot Ninja.

Weblog entry:

The W3C steps into the Eolas fray

Tim Berners-Lee just fired off a letter to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, asking the USPTO director to invalidate the Eolas patent on the grounds of the extensive prior art that exists. The W3C’s press release calls this an unprecedented step, and rightly so; having the creator of the World Wide Web and director of the W3C weigh in on recent events is no small thing.

It also underscores just how problematic the Eolas matter promises to make open, standards-fueled web design and development — not only for pages yet to be built, but for those currently floating about in the ether. As Berners-Lee himself mentions,

Removing the improperly disruptive effect of this invalid patent is important not only for the future of the Web, but also for the past. Even if the Web has to endure several years of disruption, we are confident that currently active Web pages will eventually be fixed and brought into compliance with whatever the prevailing standard is. However, pages that are inactive but have historical value may well remain in a state of impaired accessibility indefinitely if Web technology is forced to deviate from standards in this manner.

Tim Berners-Lee, U.S. Patent Office ‘906 Letter

What action (if any) the Patent Office will take as a result of the W3C’s letter remains to be seen. Hopefully they’ll do the right thing, and we’ll all be able to breathe a bit more easily soon.

Quick aside: going forward, I’m going to try and refrain from cross-posting/-promoting the content I author over at the WaSP — strikes me as a bit self-indulgent to post something here as sidesh0w-Ethan, declaring how cool WaSP-Ethan’s latest Buzz post was. But I think the W3C’s Eolas letter is a pretty significant stuff, and figured I’d post it here for those of you not prone to checking out the WaSP site.

(So hi, mom.)


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There’s a WordPress issue that’s currently preventing old comments from displaying correctly. Sorry for the inconvenience, but hopefully we’ll be back online soon.