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

Brian E Carpenter <> Sat, 30 April 2016 20:35 UTC

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Subject: Re: Last Call on draft-bradner-rfc3979bis-08.txt ("Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology")
To: Stewart Bryant <>
References: <> <> <> <> <> <>
From: Brian E Carpenter <>
Organization: University of Auckland
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Date: Sun, 01 May 2016 08:35:48 +1200
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On 30/04/2016 21:04, Stewart Bryant wrote:
>    l. "Reasonably and personally known": means something an individual
>       knows personally or, because of the job the individual holds,
>       would reasonably be expected to know.  This wording is used to
>       indicate that an organization cannot purposely keep an individual
>       in the dark about patents or patent applications just to avoid the
>       disclosure requirement.  But this requirement should not be
>       interpreted as requiring the IETF Contributor or Participant (or
>       his or her represented organization, if any) to perform a patent
>       search to find applicable IPR.
> How do we deal with the case of a an individual that was exposed to IPR in a previous
> employment, but no longer having access to the records of that employer is
> uncertain about whether they know of such IPR? A third party disclosure is one
> solution, but without access to records it may not be possible to sufficiently
> identify the patent such that the legal department can file the disclosure.

So the individual does a voluntary disclosure based on what she happens
to remember, and then her obligation is satisfied. We have no control
over what non-participants at her previous employer do.

> 6. Failure to Disclose
>    There may be cases in which individuals are not permitted by their
>    employers or by other factors to disclose the existence or substance
>    of patent applications or other IPR.  Since disclosure is required
>    for anyone making a Contribution or participating in IETF activities,
>    a person who is not willing or able to disclose IPR for this reason,
>    or any other reason, must not contribute to or participate in IETF
>    activities with respect to technologies that he or she reasonably and
>    personally knows to be Covered by IPR which he or she will not
>    disclose, unless that person knows that his or her employer or
>    sponsor will make the required disclosures on his or her behalf.
>    Contributing to or participating in IETF activities about a
>    technology without making required IPR disclosures is a violation of
>    IETF process.
>    In addition to any remedies the IESG may consider other actions. See
>    [RFC6701] for details.
> This assumes that the individual intends to support the technology that they
> know to be encumbered.
> Surely we need to also consider the case of an individual that although unable
> to disclose IPR without breaching confidentiality is arguing for an alternative
> unencumbered solution.

What's the difference? If you participate, you must disclose. I agree it
would be an annoying situation for the individual.

> We also need to visit the matter of licence fees.
> The IETF has a policy of not discussing licence terms, and in particular licence fees
> in determining whether a technology is to be adopted or avoided.

Where does it say that? What I read is the opposite:

"    A. Since IPR disclosures will be used by IETF working groups during
     their evaluation of alternative technical solutions, it is helpful
     if an IPR disclosure includes information about licensing of the
     IPR in case Implementing Technologies require a license...."


> This policy does
> not properly consider the extremity of the range of devices we support. What is
> technically the best solution for a $1m router despite a significant licence fee
> may not be viable for $0.01 IoT sensor because of the licence fee. Yet the WG is
> not permitted to discuss those economics.
> - Stewart