Re: Proposed New Note Well

John C Klensin <> Mon, 04 January 2016 20:21 UTC

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Date: Mon, 04 Jan 2016 15:21:07 -0500
From: John C Klensin <>
To: "Scott O. Bradner" <>, Brian E Carpenter <>
Subject: Re: Proposed New Note Well
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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.

(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.

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


--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. 


--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