The ramifications of the recent Web browser patent verdict against Microsoft could strike at the heart of the Webs common language: HTML.
The World Wide Web Consortium is investigating whether the claims in the patent infringement lawsuit brought by Eolas Technologies and the University of California could require changes to current and future HTML specifications, W3C officials said last week.
In its lawsuit, Eolas claimed that Microsoft infringed on its technology patent that allows for the embedded applications in Web pages such as applets and plug-ins. Microsoft disputed the claims and has promised to appeal a $521 million jury verdict handed down in August. Eolas attorney said the patent could apply to a broad range of Web technology.
The W3C is forming a patent advisory group that will decide whether to recommend changes to HTML and could call on the full standards body to conduct a formal legal analysis of the patent.
"This is a serious issue," said Philipp Hoschka, W3C deputy director for Europe, who also oversees HTML activities.