[Cfrg] On interpreting IPR in the IETF

Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman@vpnc.org> Sun, 05 January 2014 16:24 UTC

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From: Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman@vpnc.org>
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Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2014 08:24:16 -0800
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To: "Igoe, Kevin M." <kmigoe@nsa.gov>
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Subject: [Cfrg] On interpreting IPR in the IETF
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On Jan 4, 2014, at 5:41 PM, Igoe, Kevin M. <kmigoe@nsa.gov> wrote:

> Potential IPR issues:
> Certicom has granted permission to the IETF to use the NIST curves, 

This is completely wrong on many different axes.

- Certicom's IPR statements are for implementers, not the IETF.

- Certicom did not "grant permission" to anyone.

- Certicom's IPR statements do not mention "the NIST curves".

Certicom/RIM/Blackberry has spread a great deal of FUD in its IRP claims; it harms the crypto community when people parrot it, and makes it even worse when they parrot it badly.

> and at least two of these, P256 and P384, have p = 3 mod 4.  Not 
> being a patent lawyer, I have no idea what impact the Certicom patents 
> have on the use of newer families of curves, such as Edwards curves.  

Just to be clear: you also have no idea what impact the Certicom patents have on any family of curves. None of us do.

> RFC 6090 outlines elliptic curve technology which predates the Certicom
> patents.

Correct. It would have been *way* better to leave out the rest of that paragraph.

--Paul Hoffman