The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the global standard-setting body for the Web, has presented the United States Patent and Trademark Office with prior art establishing that US Patent No. 5,838,906 (the '906 patent) is invalid and should therefore be re-examined in order to eliminate this unjustified impediment to the operation of the Web. The W3C is urging US Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property James E. Rogan to initiate a re-examination of the patent because the critical prior art was neither considered at the time the patent was initially examined and granted, nor during recent patent infringement litigation.
One wonders how far this can go through the management of an organization that delivers as many patents as it can because it makes money out of it, and lets the courts sort out the resulting mess. Granting what the W3C is asking would mean recognizing a big mistake, if not their incompetence. One also repeatedly wonders how come a company equipped with top notch lawyers and an unimaginable amount of cash has not been able to action this prior art card in front of a court (note to self: revise mental model of the US court system, it can happen that the richest one doesn't win.)
[source: Jeffrey Zeldman]