Re: Last Call on draft-bradner-rfc3979bis-08.txt ("Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology")

"Ben Campbell" <ben@nostrum.com> Mon, 04 April 2016 17:52 UTC

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From: "Ben Campbell" <ben@nostrum.com>
To: "Barry Leiba" <barryleiba@computer.org>
Subject: Re: Last Call on draft-bradner-rfc3979bis-08.txt ("Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology")
Date: Mon, 04 Apr 2016 14:52:33 -0300
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On 4 Apr 2016, at 10:43, Barry Leiba wrote:

>>> So, one might argue that an AD can be unaware that a particular
>>> document includes something that needs to be disclosed up to the
>>> point that they take some action on that document, such as 
>>> sponsoring it.
>>
>> Yes, but is that an issue? The AD is only required to disclose when
>> she is "reasonably and personally aware" of the need for a 
>> disclosure,
>> which will presumably become the case when she actually reads the 
>> draft
>> (or sees the slides that describe the technology in question).
>
> Be careful here: I think it is an issue.
>
> The "reasonably and personally aware" applies to the IPR, not to the
> participation.  If I'm participating in active discussion about
> Section 4 of document X, and I should be reasonably and personally
> aware of IPR my employer holds with respect to Section 3 of document
> X, we aren't going to happily accept that I didn't read Section 3 so I
> don't have a responsibility to disclose.
>
> If we're saying that, say, ADs are considered to be Participants with
> respect to every document and discussion in every working group in the
> area -- and I see why some people think that's wise and appropriate --
> then we're saying that I have a responsibility to disclose whether or
> not I've read the documents, and waiting until AD Evaluation state
> would be a late disclosure.  Consider that the working group might
> have been proceeding for a couple of years and many I-D revisions
> under the assumption that the technology is unencumbered... and then I
> dump an IPR statement on them just as they've finished.
>
> This really is a tough one: it would be nice if the late disclosure
> didn't happen, but ADs can't reasonably be expected to read every
> draft in every working group early on... and, as others have said, it
> would be very bad if this disclosure requirement gave us even fewer AD
> candidates than we have now.

I think it's a bit worse than that. IIUC, the document also says that 
the act of participating asserts that the participant has the authority 
to disclose any related IPR. That seems to mean that, by accepting an AD 
role, one asserts they have authority to disclose IPR on any draft or 
discussion that anyone might ever have in their area. I think its highly 
likely that some sponsors would object to such an open-ended assertion 
if they understood it.

Ben.