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

John C Klensin <> Wed, 13 April 2016 23:28 UTC

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Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2016 19:28:25 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Brian E Carpenter <>, IETF <>
Subject: Re: Last Call on draft-bradner-rfc3979bis-08.txt ("Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology")
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--On Thursday, April 14, 2016 08:27 +1200 Brian E Carpenter
<> wrote:

> On 14/04/2016 08:04, Joel M. Halpern wrote:
> ...
>> Which is why most chairs, when trying to get a sense of the
>> room on something, always ask the obverse question, and
>> sometimes even ask "how many people don't care." 
> I've also heard "who is abstaining?" and even "who is not
> listening?".
> I think what John is getting at (please correct me if I'm
> wrong) is individuals who have influenced the draft behind the
> scenes but stay silent in public. Whether they are in the room
> is a little beside the point.

Yes, that is my main concern -- that we do not let such
publicly-quiet influencers off the hook.

> On 14/04/2016 08:06, Stephan Wenger wrote:
>> Hi John and Mike,
> ...
>> "Strong sense of the room that active influence counts as
>> participation, but listening and watching does not."
> Fair enough - but that doesn't mean that the IETF condones
> non-disclosure. And (for the topic originally under
> discussion) it's clear that a WG Chair who declares consensus
> for adopting a document, or forwards it to the IESG for
> publication, or an AD who reviews a document prior to an IESG
> ballot, is participating. If the text doesn't make that clear
> to all readers, the text is defective.

And that is another key part of the point I'm trying to make.
It seems to directly contradict Michael's position that, AFAICT,
posits some sort of non-involved acceptance of a WG
recommendation that would not constitute participation.   Along
with wanting to stay very far from "I didn't really hum and
therefore I don't need to disclose", I want to be sure we
_never_ get into a situation in which Company A has a rule
against its employees disclosing IPR before patents have been
issued, a WG has a chair who works for company A, all ADs in the
Area of that WG work for company A, all three of them are
personally aware of relevant IPR, and yet there is some way to
dance around the rules such that no one is obligated to

The problem I see with trying to make extremely fine
distinctions about ways to not-quite-participate is that they
will almost certainly open up loopholes or edge cases that could
make such a scenario possible.  We could, of course, avoid such
scenarios by adopting firm rules that no AD can be responsible
for a WG whose Chair (or any co-chair) is from the same company
and perhaps that areas with two or more ADs must have all of
them from separate companies, but I think that cure might be
worse than the problem.