Re: [antitrust-policy] An Antitrust Policy for the IETF

Russ Housley <> Sun, 15 January 2012 20:38 UTC

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Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 15:38:45 -0500
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Subject: Re: [antitrust-policy] An Antitrust Policy for the IETF
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> Based on the length of this thread, it is clear to me that more discussion is needed, but I do not think that the IETF mail list is the place to have it.  So, the antitrust-policy mail list has been set up to continue the discussion.
> It is clear to me that many people are questioning what would go in such a policy.  I have been working on a strawman.  It is short, but it answers the question about what topics would be covered.  I will post that strawman to the antitrust-policy mail list for discussion from two perspectives.  First, does the IETF want to adopt an antitrust policy.  Second, the strawman will provide the basis for a conversation on the content of such a policy if the consensus is that the IETF wants to adopt one.
> I'll wait a few days so that people have time to join the antitrust-policy mail list before the discussion begins.

When I announced this mail list, I said that i would post a strawman to answer the question about what such a policy would include.  Here it is.


=== === === === ===

Existing IETF process and procedures were specifically designed to avoid
problems with antitrust and competition laws.  The IETF has an open
decision process, explicit rules for intellectual property, and a
well-defined appeals process.  All of these contribute to the robust
standards development process used by the IETF.

Yet, it is worth reminding all IETF participants that all IETF meetings,
including virtual meetings, shall be conducted in compliance with all
applicable laws, including antitrust and competition laws.

Some participants at IETF meetings are undoubtedly employed by
competitors of the employers of other IETF meeting participants.
Accordingly, IETF meeting participants are expected to avoid even
the appearance of impropriety.

IETF meeting participants MUST NOT:

 - discuss product prices, product profits, internal product cost,
   bidding, terms of bidding, allocation of customers, division of
   sales markets, sales territories, or marketing strategies;

 - condition or discuss conditioning the implementation of an IETF 
   specification on the implementer’s use of products or services from
   a particular supplier;

 - discuss agreements to collectively refuse or conditionally refuse to
   do business with a particular supplier;

 - suggest any action for the purpose of giving one company or a few
   companies significant competitive advantage over others;

 - present or exchange proprietary information; or

 - share non-public status or substance of ongoing or threatened

All IETF meeting participants MUST disclose patents or patent
applications reasonably and personally known to them.  Please
review the IETF IPR rules in RFC 3979.

IETF meeting participants MAY:

 - discuss technical considerations of any proposals, including relative
   costs to implement, operate, and support them;

 - discuss licensing costs of essential patent claims associated with
   different technical approaches;

  - discuss the likelihood that adoption of a particular technical
    approach would subject implementers to a greater or lesser risk of
    patent litigation;

  - discuss or present broad market potential or market requirements for
    informational purposes.

If you observe behavior in violation of these guidelines at an IETF
meeting, please do not be silent; formally object.