Re: Proposed New Note Well

"Scott O. Bradner" <> Mon, 04 January 2016 20:36 UTC

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Subject: Re: Proposed New Note Well
From: "Scott O. Bradner" <>
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Date: Mon, 04 Jan 2016 15:36:11 -0500
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To: "John C. Klensin" <>
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> On Jan 4, 2016, at 3:21 PM, John C Klensin <> wrote:
> Scott,
> I think this actually muddies the issue.  We've actually got two
> separate disclosure rules. Summarizing them in different
> language (and after reviewing what is in the RFCs), they are:
> (1) If you are personally involved with a patent and/or you or
> your organization claim ownership or some other beneficial
> interest in it that you know about (or might reasonably be
> expected to know about), then you are _required_ to disclose.

unless you do not “participate” in the standards process relating to that IPR
(see RFC 3979 section 6.1.2 - only binding on a person participating in a discussion)

this is the issue that stalled the previous attempt by the IESG to redo the Note Well
the previous version stated the requirement as you did - an absolute requirement 
to disclose if you have knowledge of “your” iPR - a number of people pointed
out that this was not a accurate description of the rules

also the “benefit” language was trying to help with the “owns” case - it is not just that you 
or your organization owns the patent - it also covers the case where you or your organization
has the right to license the patent to others and the case where you or your or your organization
will receive money (or other consideration) from some party who has the right to license the patent to others

> (2) If (1) does not apply but you happen to know about the
> patent claims anyway, you are encouraged to disclose but are
> under no formal requirement to do so.
> The second is particularly important to those of us who might
> get a call from someone saying "TrollCo claims it has patent
> rights that cover such-and-such.  Do you have an opinion about
> that with regard to either applicability or validity?"   Because
> even the asking of questions like that may be covered by NDAs,
> the exact IETF requirements are fairly important.

yup - I’m well in that boat myself

> As usual, what this suggests to me is that the Note Well should
> avoid saying things that are misleading.  

or leave things out in a way that is misleading


> That, in turn, means
> either sticking to general advice and pointing to the relevant
> documents (in that sense, this attempted revision seems to be a
> step in the right direction) or being very specific and precise.
> The proposed language in this area seems to be neither.
> Similarly, 
> --On Tuesday, January 05, 2016 08:37 +1300 Brian E Carpenter
> <> wrote:
>> On 05/01/2016 05:05, John C Klensin wrote:
>> ...
>>> In particular, don't say "By participating with the
>>> IETF, you agree to follow IETF processes and policies" and
>>> then identify only a few of them as if they were the complete
>>> list.
>> I thought about trying to express that in my rewrite, but
>> couldn't see an easy way to cover it. As I repeat from time to
>> time, the hard way to cover it is
>> . Good luck in
>> trying to summarise that for the Note Well.
> But that suggests that either the Note Well should be about IPR
> and should say to, possibly adding a sentence there are lots of
> important non-IPR policies of which people need to be aware or,
> difficult or not, it should be comprehensive.  Picking one
> handful of policies and ignoring others seems like a recipe for
> trouble unless the boundary or stopping rule is clearly
> identified.  As you suggest above, good luck with that
> delineation as well as with the comprehensive summary. 
>    john
> --On Monday, January 04, 2016 14:48 -0500 "Scott O. Bradner"
> <> wrote:
>> ps - stated better in RFC 3979 sec 6.6
>> 6.6.  When is a Disclosure Required?
>>   IPR disclosures under Sections 6.1.1. and 6.1.2 are
>> required with    respect to IPR that is owned directly or
>> indirectly, by the    individual or his/her employer or
>> sponsor (if any) or that such    persons otherwise have the
>> right to license or assert.
>>> On Jan 4, 2016, at 2:41 PM, Scott O. Bradner <>
>>> wrote:
>>>>> • If you are aware that any contribution to the IETF is
>>>>> covered by patents or patent applications that are owned
>>>>> by, controlled by, or would benefit you or your sponsor,
>>>>> you must disclose that fact, or not participate in the
>>>>> discussion.
>>>> Where does "or would benefit" come from in BCP 79? While I
>>>> agree with the sentiment, I don't think it follows from our
>>>> rules, so I think it must be deleted.
>>> the concept comes from (for example) RFC 3979 section 6.1.3
>>> 6.1.3.  IPR of Others
>>>  If a person has information about IPR that may Cover IETF
>>>  Contributions, but the participant is not required to
>>>  disclose because they do not meet the criteria in Section
>>>  6.6 (e.g., the IPR is owned by some other company), such
>>>  person is encouraged to notify the IETF by sending an email
>>>  message to  Such a notice should be sent
>>>  as soon as reasonably possible after the person realizes
>>>  the connection.
>>> i.e. the text is trying to deal with the case where you know
>>> of IPR but it is not "yours"
>>> this seemed to be a clean way to express the condition - just
>>> eliminating the phrase would, imo, make it harder to
>>> understand when disclosure is required -  other ways to get
>>> the point across would be helpful
>>> Scott