Re: [codec] WGLC of draft-ietf-codec-opus-07

Stephan Wenger <> Fri, 22 July 2011 06:47 UTC

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Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2011 23:47:25 -0700
From: Stephan Wenger <>
To: Peter Saint-Andre <>, Jehan =?ISO-8859-1?B?UGFn6HM=?= <>
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Thread-Topic: [codec] WGLC of draft-ietf-codec-opus-07
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Subject: Re: [codec] WGLC of draft-ietf-codec-opus-07
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Hi Peter,
I believe you phrased the disclosure obligations a tad to broad:

On 7.21.2011 19:39 , "Peter Saint-Andre" <> wrote:

>According to IETF rules, individuals who are aware of IPR claims related
>to work in which they are participating (e.g., as document editors or
>list discussants) are required to state that they are aware of the
>existence of such claims (which might even be claims made by third
>parties not involved in the work) -- not necessarily to disclose the
>nature of the IPR itself, but at least to state awareness of the
>existence of such claims.

An individual is *required* to disclose "own" IPR against "own" drafts and
someone else's drafts the individual is commenting on.  See sections 6.1.1
and 6.1.2 of RFC3979.

The disclosure obligation under 6.1.1 and 6.1.2 against a given document
or contribution is triggered when (amongst others) three conditions are
fulfilled: the individual has "reasonable and personal" knowledge (and not
only a suspicion) that a patent claim applies to a patent, that patent
claim is under control (from an assertion/licensing viewpoint) of the
individual's employer or the individual himself/herself, and the
individual contributes to the document or contribution.  It's quite common
that individuals participate in certain activities of a WG, and do not
trigger a disclosure obligation against other documents of the WG.  For
example, I have personally contributed quite heavily to the operational
practices of the codec WG, but not to the codec specification draft.
Accordingly, I do not have a disclosure obligation against the
specification draft.  In many patent-savvy companies, this feature of the
IETF's patent policy is well understood by the individuals working for
those companies, and exploited to the advantage of the company.

Beyond that, an individual is only *encouraged* to make a third-party
disclosure, i.e. a disclosure related to patent claims not under control
by themselves or their employers.  Section 6.1.3 of RFC3979.  While this
has been done on occasion, it is, AFAIK and IMO, not common practice.  For
example, I work on patent matters for a living and had jobs that included
IPR portfolio management, and therefore had to study the scope of
protection of quite a few patents, quite possibly to the extent that would
pass the "reasonable and personal" knowledge test.  However, I have never
made a third party disclosure.

There are certain legal risks, as well as (sometimes) economical
disadvantages associated with third party disclosures. OTOH, sometimes
there are also economical advantages in making a third party disclosure,
that can outweigh the legal risk.

>Also according to IETF rules, the working group chairs are required to
>make the group aware of notifications and disclosures that are submitted
>in relation to the work happening in the group. The purpose of drawing
>this information to the attention of the working group participants is
>to allow each person to make their own determination of the validity of
>the IPR claims, and to assess the license terms that
>are presented.
>I hope that this message helps to clarify the role of the working group,
>and the responsibilities of each working group participant, in relation
>to IPR claims.
>Peter Saint-Andre
>codec mailing list