Re: [Gendispatch] I-D Action: draft-halpern-gendispatch-antitrust-01.txt

Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net> Mon, 22 November 2021 23:19 UTC

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From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
In-Reply-To: <E1D78C01-243A-49A5-83F7-C4D7198536CF@biddle.law>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2021 10:19:22 +1100
Cc: "Joel M. Halpern" <jmh@joelhalpern.com>, gendispatch-chairs@ietf.org, gendispatch@ietf.org
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To: Brad Biddle <brad@biddle.law>
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] I-D Action: draft-halpern-gendispatch-antitrust-01.txt
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Thanks, Brad. I think this is the right framing, FWIW.

Related but tangental question: Does the IETF have any particular reason for not opting into protection under the Standards Developing Organization Act of 2004 in the US? Last time I looked at the Federal Register, we were nowhere to be seen...

Cheers,



> On 23 Nov 2021, at 2:28 am, Brad Biddle <brad@biddle.law> wrote:
> 
> All -- for those who don't know me: I serve as legal counsel to the IETF. In the Gendispatch meeting held in connection with IETF 112 I was asked to provide my perspective on the need for the antitrust-related I-D that is currently under discussion. This message summarizes my thoughts.
> 
> Risks related to antitrust law (or "competition" law, as it is known in many countries) inexorably arise in a standards development context. As a general rule, standards development requires cooperation between competitors. Antitrust law, which is designed to ensure robust marketplace competition, embodies a deep suspicion of competitor collaboration. While antitrust regulators understand the value of standards, they are wary of circumstances where the pro-competitive benefits of standardization could be outweighed by anti-competitive collusion or other behavior that harms market competition. Standardization forums are often the subject of investigation by antitrust regulators and the focus of antitrust-related disputes between private litigants.
> 
> Standards development organizations (SDOs) manage these well-known risks in different ways. Many SDOs have explicit antitrust policies (although, interestingly, the content of these policies can differ considerably among SDOs). Many routinely remind their participants of the importance of antitrust compliance, for example by showing a reminder slide at the beginning of meetings. While these steps alone are neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve actual substantive compliance with applicable antitrust law, they are established best practices and are likely to be expected by antitrust regulators or others assessing the antitrust compliance practices of an SDO.
> 
> The IETF currently has a robust approach to managing antitrust compliance. As discussed in an IETF LLC statement [1], the organizational structure and the processes and procedures of the IETF are particularly well-suited to mitigating antitrust risks. Further, we have a sophisticated body of participants who understand these risks and who readily raise concerns. IETF leadership monitors antitrust developments and has a well-established culture of compliance. Our current antitrust compliance strategy is solid.
> 
> A critical part of what the US Department of Justice (a key antitrust enforcer) calls an antitrust compliance "program" is continuous monitoring and improving of our compliance strategy, however. Our current approach has the disadvantage of not mapping directly to the established best practices of having (1) an explicit statement about our antitrust compliance expectations, and (2) routine reminders for participants about the importance of antitrust compliance. I believe that it would serve us well to incorporate these practices into our compliance program, both because doing so would both in fact strengthen our antitrust compliance efforts and because the absence of these elements has caused misperceptions about IETF's commitment to antitrust compliance. Specifically, I recommend that that we develop an explicit statement that addresses antitrust compliance, and that we reference that statement in the Note Well text that is routinely shown to participants.
> 
> The substance of our explicit statement can be straightforward, essentially just highlighting how our existing processes and procedures are designed to mitigate antitrust risks and setting our expectation that all participants will abide by applicable antitrust laws. We will circulate an updated I-D that embodies this simple model shortly.
> 
> I understand that some in the IETF community would like practical, detailed guidance about how to comply with applicable antitrust law in particular circumstances. My suggestion is that we discuss this need separately and address it in educational materials that would exist separately from the antitrust-focused I-D.
> 
> Please let me know if any additional clarification would be helpful.
> 
> -Brad
> 
> 
> [1] https://www.ietf.org/blog/ietf-llc-statement-competition-law-issues/
> 
> 
> Brad Biddle | brad@biddle.law | +1.503.502.1259 (mobile) | http://biddle.law
> 
> On 3 Nov 2021, at 8:37, Joel M. Halpern wrote:
> 
>> This is a significant revision of the draft on IETF antitrust guidelines.  We tried to address what we heard in the previous feedback, and tightened the language related to legal issues.
>> 
>> Chairs, if it is possible I would like to present this for dispatching at the upcoming session.
>> 
>> Thank you,
>> Joel
>> 
>> 
>> -------- Forwarded Message --------
>> Subject: I-D Action: draft-halpern-gendispatch-antitrust-01.txt
>> Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2021 08:15:16 -0700
>> From: internet-drafts@ietf.org
>> Reply-To: internet-drafts@ietf.org
>> To: i-d-announce@ietf.org
>> 
>> 
>> A New Internet-Draft is available from the on-line Internet-Drafts directories.
>> 
>> 
>>        Title           : Antitrust Guidelines for IETF Particiants
>>        Authors         : Joel M. Halpern
>>                          Brad Biddle
>>                          Jay Daley
>> 	Filename        : draft-halpern-gendispatch-antitrust-01.txt
>> 	Pages           : 8
>> 	Date            : 2021-11-03
>> 
>> Abstract:
>>   This document provides guidance for IETF participants on compliance
>>   with antitrust laws and how to reduce antitrust risks in connection
>>   with IETF activities.
>> 
>> 
>> The IETF datatracker status page for this draft is:
>> https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-halpern-gendispatch-antitrust/
>> 
>> There is also an HTML version available at:
>> https://www.ietf.org/archive/id/draft-halpern-gendispatch-antitrust-01.html
>> 
>> A diff from the previous version is available at:
>> https://www.ietf.org/rfcdiff?url2=draft-halpern-gendispatch-antitrust-01
>> 
>> 
>> Internet-Drafts are also available by anonymous FTP at:
>> ftp://ftp.ietf.org/internet-drafts/
>> 
>> 
>> _______________________________________________
>> I-D-Announce mailing list
>> I-D-Announce@ietf.org
>> https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/i-d-announce
>> Internet-Draft directories: http://www.ietf.org/shadow.html
>> or ftp://ftp.ietf.org/ietf/1shadow-sites.txt
>> 
>> -- 
>> Gendispatch mailing list
>> Gendispatch@ietf.org
>> https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/gendispatch
> 
> -- 
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Mark Nottingham   https://www.mnot.net/