The World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) has published its final draft of proposals for a royalty-free patent policy, which lets WC3 technology recommendations be implemented on a royalty-free basis.

The proposal says that those participating in developing such recommendations must agree to license those patents that "block interoperability" on a royalty-free basis.

The W3C's proposed policy does not require relinquishing an entire patent portfolio, just patent claims essential to implement a standard that a patent holder participates in developing at W3C.

Group The issue of royalty-free technologies has come up recently in W3C deliberations on development of the SOAP 1.2 specification and on Web services choreography, which is expected to be the subject of a new W3C working group.

The W3C Patent Policy Working Group, which issued the document, will produce a final draft proposal for consideration of the W3C membership and the public. Afterward, a final proposal is to be released, leading eventually to a final policy decision by W3C director Tim Berners-Lee. A final policy is hoped for by May 2003.

Additionally, a gathering called the WC3 Advisory Committee Forum is to be held in Boston next week, at which time W3C members are expected to discuss the proposed formation of a Web-services-choreography working group, according to W3C.