Re: Expired patents

"Martin J. Dürst" <> Fri, 20 June 2014 06:21 UTC

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Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2014 15:21:35 +0900
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To:, Brian E Carpenter <>, IPR WG <>
Subject: Re: Expired patents
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I agree with Dave about being cautious. Of all the hassles with patents, 
figuring out whether a declared patent itself is still valid or is 
expired is the least of worries.

We have the patent declaration mechanism because we want patent holders 
to declare favorable licencing conditions (royality free,...) and 
because we want everybody to know about (potentially) relevant patents. 
Adding patent expiry information doesn't add a lot of value to this.

Up to now, as far as I understand, we (i.e. the IETF) don't provide any 
kind of additional information whatsoever because such information is at 
risk of being incorrect or incomplete. For patent expiry, that risk is 
low, but it might start us down a slippery slope we better avoid.

Regards,   Martin.

On 2014/06/20 11:27, Dave Crocker wrote:
> On 6/19/2014 6:24 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>> I was wondering whether there is a need for an occasional sweep
>> over the IPR disclosures to tag all those that cite expired
>> patents. We've been at this long enough that it is starting to
>> be relevant. For example, I just noticed that IBM's NAT patent
>> (US5371852) must have expired by now.
> That is certainly a reasonable suggestion, but I suspect it can
> sometimes carry unfortunate complexities.
> For example imagine someone filing a continuing patent but not updating
> the IETF's records. There would be relevant IPR encumbrance but we
> wouldn't necessarily know it.
> No matter what we do or don't do, the record won't be perfect, but we
> probably should be cautious about having our records move from
> 'encumbered' to 'not encumbered' through any simple process such as a
> timeout.
> d/