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

Jorge Contreras <> Sun, 15 January 2012 22:32 UTC

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Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2012 16:32:38 -0600
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From: Jorge Contreras <>
To: "Joel M. Halpern" <>
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Cc:, Russ Housley <>
Subject: Re: [antitrust-policy] An Antitrust Policy for the IETF
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> The other piece that I have been told is important, that is missing from
> the prohibited lists is that the IETF MUST NOT engage in negotiating
> licensing terms.  The lawyers have told us repeatedly that such would be
> dangerous behavior.
> Yours,
> Joel

Joel -- the law in this area is evolving and lawyers' stated positions
sometimes vary based on their companies' business strategies and their
clients wishes.  I have advised the IAOC that (1) the IETF, per se, should
not engage in licensing negotiations (meaning that the IESG, IAOC and other
bodies that are collectively representing the IETF community), but that (2)
individual companies MAY disclose and discuss licensing terms in the
context of IETF activities.  Not all lawyers will agree with point (2), and
some will disagree with vehemence.  However, you should know that the US
Dept. of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have both viewed required "ex
ante" disclosures of licensing terms in SDOs with favor (or, at least,
without disfavor).  I would be happy to discuss in greater detail with you,
and also invite any interested lawyers to the discussion.