Re: [antitrust-policy] Should the IETF allow discussion of licensing costs

Jorge Contreras <cntreras@gmail.com> Fri, 20 January 2012 21:35 UTC

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Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2012 15:35:27 -0600
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From: Jorge Contreras <cntreras@gmail.com>
To: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
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Cc: antitrust-policy@ietf.org, Russ Housley <housley@vigilsec.com>
Subject: Re: [antitrust-policy] Should the IETF allow discussion of licensing costs
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One way would be to prohibit only "collective negotiation of disclosed
royalty terms" or something along those lines.  Thus, discussion that
falls short of "collective negotiation" would be allowed.

On 1/20/12, Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie> wrote:
>
>
> On 01/20/2012 09:14 PM, Russ Housley wrote:
>>>
>>>>>   - discuss licensing costs of essential patent claims associated with
>>>>>     different technical approaches;
>>>
>>> This point in the strawman has lead to a disagreement.  Some say that
>>> this should not be allowed, and they point to the policies of other SDOs
>>> that prohibit it.  On the other side of this issue, Jorge points out that
>>> these SDOs are being very conservative, and he says that it is not
>>> prohibited by current antitrust and competitive laws.
>>>
>>> This leads me to a question: Does the IETF need to be able to include
>>> discussion of licensing costs?  In other words, is it sufficient to
>>> distinguish between 'royalty free' and 'not royalty free'?
>>>
>>> Russ
>>>
>>> Russ -- I'd rephrase this last question, as I believe that most people
>>> said that mere disclosure of licensing costs did not bother them, but
>>> some felt uncomfortable with discussion of licensing costs.  Maybe it is
>>> most accurate to ask:
>>>
>>> 1.  Should disclosure of licensing terms be allowed?
>>> 2.  Should disclosure of licensing terms be required?
>>> 3.  If you said yes to either 1 or 2, should discussion of those
>>> licensing costs be allowed?
>>
>> Jorge:
>>
>> The current IPR rules allow disclosure of terms.  Most organizations that
>> do something other than the non-assert approach have chosen to commit to
>> reasonable and non-discriminatory license.  That commitment does not
>> actually tell us the cost.  This policy is not the place to require the
>> disclosure of terms.  It a change is desired in that area, it ought to be
>> discussed on the the IPR mail list.
>>
>> So, if terms are disclosed, do we want to allow discussion of them?
>
> We need to be able to understand any disclosed terms. There are
> various IPR disclosures that have been posted that I don't
> understand. E.g. if the terms are RF for a standard but the
> document is informational etc.
>
> That kind of "discussion" needs to be allowed or else the
> WG cannot really make a good decision.
>
> I don't know how to sensibly draw a line between that, and
> what we don't want to see, e.g. haggling over the price.
>
> S.
>
>>
>> Russ
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>