Via Arve, Apple has made a strong statement that they have IPR on the Canvas functionality. What does it mean?

To quote Apple's response:

At this time, Apple reserves all rights in its IP Rights and makes no
representations as to Apple’s willingness or unwillingness to license these
IP Rights. However, in the event that the Web Applications 1.0 Working
Draft, dated March 24, 2005, becomes part of a formalized draft
standard at W3C or IETF, for example, Apple is prepared to address the
disclosure/licensing rules of such organizations.

This brings back echoes of this entry from Chris Wilson (of the Microsoft's IE team) where he talks about the WHATWG and states:

I was asked personally to join the WHAT WG over a year ago. I had a back-and-forth discussion in email with several of the members of the WHAT-WG. ... I said “you have no patent policy, and that makes it impossible for me to join.” The response was something along the lines of “yeah, we should get one of those.” There is still no patent policy for the WHAT-WG that I’m aware of – and more importantly, no commitment from those making contributions that they are contributing any relevant IP to those implementing the WHAT-WG specifications, and in my personal opinion that makes the WHAT-WG irresponsible in ensuring that their specifications are actually “free”...

IANAL, so I can't tell what Apple's latest means to the WHATWG or HTML5. I can't make out how much Apple is claiming they own. Surely the original implementation/specification, but what about any improvements the WHATWG members have already made?

All I know is if I was Mozilla and Opera, I'd be a little concerned that a feature I have already implemented in a released version of my browser might suddenly be in some sort of IP violation at a later date. Is Mozilla willing to pay Apple for the rights to continue supporting this technology?

How timely! Maybe this will finally convince the Mozilla Corp to put some some frippin' paid resources onto their SVG implementation to protect those open standards it supposedly cares so much about? Wake up, MoCo!

§347 · March 15, 2007 · Firefox, Microsoft, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · · [Print]

3 Comments to “Apple Hedges Its Bets, Pisses Ian Off”

  1. Jim Ley says:

    I asked for this to be clarified many times almost 3 years ago:

    (and elsewhere on the archives) I don’t recall ever getting a response from Apple – but I could be wrong, in any case I’m sure Opera would have corresponding IPR on other elements of the WHAT-WG stuff, and could be traded – it’s more relevant to any hope on having this stuff appear in other browsers.

    This was always going to be the problem with WHAT-WG.

  2. Grey says:

    Should we take that as a “I’m not pissed off”?