Apple's legal woes look set to continue after the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) moved to invalidate two of the iPhone manufacturer's patents so that the firm complies with its royalty-free policy.
The W3C has made an application for 'prior art' on patents 11/432,295 and 7,743,336, which means that it has requested all information about the inventions to be disclosed to the public in any form.
Apple has chosen to withhold intellectual property rights, despite being a member of the W3C.
The W3C has a rigid royalty-free licensing policy, but Apple does not want to be restricted in any way from asserting patents in lawsuits, according to software patents expert Florian Mueller.
"If patents are essential to [the WC3's] standards, they must be made available 'to all, worldwide, whether or not they are W3C members' on a royalty-free basis," he said on the Foss Patents blog.
"It's an unpleasant situation for the W3C to have to confront one of its members, especially such a large and powerful one, but sometimes this can't be avoided."
If the W3C's effort to invalidate the patent succeeds, the specification is patent-unencumbered. If the challenge is unsuccessful, the W3C can still evaluate possible workarounds or give up on a standard, Mueller added.
The timing of this could not be worse, as Apple is already involved in a number of disputes, including a high-profile patent infringement battle against Samsung.
Apple filed for a preliminary injunction against Samsung last week to stop the company making, using, importing and selling recently released high-end smartphones and tablets such as the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US.
The iPhone maker wants a hearing to take place as soon as possible, and originally suggested a date of 5 August which was deemed too early by US judge Lucy Koh.
Apple proposed a revised date of 8 September, but Samsung claims that it needs until 14 October to prepare. A decision by judge Koh is expected in the coming days.
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