Florian Weimer | 30 Nov 18:56 2014

RAND and non-commercial use license to end users

Let's assume there is a piece of technology for which vendors can only
obtain licenses under conditions which do not allow them to grant end
users sub-licenses for commercial use.  (I.e., they must stipulate in
the product documentation that the IPR license is for personal,
non-commercial use only.)

Does this still fall under RAND terms?  I think it's distinctly
lacking in the “reasonable” department, specifically considering there
are jurisdictions where personal, non-commercial use of a patent is
never infringement (sadly not the U.S., though).

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todd | 7 Jul 16:54 2014

The War is on...

Well its happened - the EFF is suing the NSA for 'holes engineered' into 


How long do you all think it will take before the IETF and its  IPR WG 
members are by name added as defendants in this matter ?

Todd Glassey
Brian E Carpenter | 20 Jun 03:24 2014

Expired patents

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. It was discosed in

SM | 8 May 20:46 2014

Generic IPR Disclosures


RFC 3979 states that:

  "The disclosure must list the numbers of any issued patents or
   published patent applications or indicate that the claim is based on
   unpublished patent applications."


   "IPR under fair and non-discriminatory terms for the same reason.
    However, the requirement for an IPR disclosure is satisfied by a
    blanket statement of the IPR discloser's willingness to license
    all of its potential IPR meeting the requirements of Section 6.6
    (and either Section 6.1.1 or 6.1.2) to implementers of an IETF
    specification on a royalty-free basis as long as any other terms
    and conditions are disclosed in the IPR disclosure statement."

 From what I understand the second (quoted) paragraph is for Generic 
IPR Disclosures.  Is that correct?

There is also the following:

   "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"

Does that include Generic IPR Disclosures?

(Continue reading)

Fred Baker (fred | 7 May 02:11 2014

Question regarding trademarks

I just fielded a call from a Cisco colleague, who is working in a different (open source) forum, and coming up
against an issue relating to a trademark. Apparently some company has named something in a product of that
forum, and is now wanting to assert trademark rights on the name.

He asked me what the IETF’s policy in such cases might be, knowing that there are discussions in the IETF
that touch on trademarked intellectual property. I couldn’t quickly put my finger on such a policy,
although I did find a proposed policy in draft-ietf-ipr-trademarks. Thinking out loud, I suggested that
the party with the trademark would likely need to disclose it, and if there was any question on the matter,
the IETF might prefer to change the name of the standardized technology, as it did between NetFlow and
IPFIX, if only to avoid confusion. But I’m not sure that’s any more than how I might address the issue.

Do we have a defined policy?
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SM | 18 Dec 09:39 2013

RE: Normatively referenced specifications

Hi David,
At 15:43 17-12-2013, Black, David wrote:
>I'm concerned - at an abstract level, this question appears to be
>headed towards applying the IETF's IPR policy to standards developed
>by other standards organizations by virtue of IETF documents
>containing normative references to such standards.


>I suspect that the IETF could be rather uncomfortable being on the
>receiving end of another standards organization doing that to
>our standards (applying their IPR policy to IETF standards courtesy
>of normative references in their standards).  I might suggest that
>a useful criterion for application of IETF's IPR policy to a standard
>developed by another organization could be (re)publication of that
>document as an IETF standard (to which the IETF IPR policy would
>then be clearly applicable).  There are situations in which the
>same standard is published by IETF and another standards organization.

The republication might cause other problems as you then have two 
specifications.  There may be a divergence between the two 
specifications in the far future.  As mentioned above the IETF might 
be uncomfortable if it was at the receiving end.

>I will also observe that as a participant in multiple standards
>organizations across which normative references and collaborative
>standards development activity occurs, one IPR policy per organization
>is quite enough to deal with ... really ;-).

(Continue reading)

SM | 17 Dec 09:58 2013

Normatively referenced specifications

At 21:11 16-12-2013, Stephan Wenger wrote:
>(1) None of the IETF policy documents contain an explicit requirement for
>disclosure against normatively referenced specs.
>(2) At least in the area of IPR encumbered media codec specs being
>normatively referenced by IETF documents (mandatory or optional), there is
>no history of IPR disclosures.  The majority of IETF documents that
>normatively reference media coding specs are RTP payload formats--an area
>I¹m very familiar with.  There is not a single IPR disclosure against the
>media codec technology itself that I¹m aware of in any disclosures related
>to payload formats.  That is despite the fact that the majority of payload

I am quoting part of a message from Stephan 
Wenger to ask about the interpretation regarding 
IPR disclosures about normatively referenced 
specifications.  For what it is worth, I reviewed 
a draft from a working group in the RAI area 
recently.  The draft was written to address an 
interoperability problem affecting a 
technology.  The specification for that 
technology was not referenced.  I didn't read 
other RFCs from RAI to see whether that was the practice in the area.

One of the basic principles regarding claims about IPR is as follows:

   "in order for the working group and the rest of the IETF to have
    the information needed to make an informed decision about the use
    of a particular technology, all those contributing to the working
    group's discussions must disclose the existence of any IPR the
    Contributor or other IETF participant believes Covers or may
(Continue reading)

Stephan Wenger | 13 Aug 18:19 2013

RFC3979bis section 7 -- hierarchy of preference for licensing

Hi all,

In Berlin's IPR BOF, one of the topics discussed was language in section 7.  I had specific comments, and was asked to provide input on the list.  In the process of composing my input, I noted that a section 7 has a number of issues that could benefit from clarifications or modifications that go beyond editorial input.  I had some private discussions with Scott and Jorge, and was asked by them to provide input on a few major (non-editorial) topics the list.  This is the first of a series of emails all concerning this section.

To set context, section 7 is arguably one of the more important sections in the RFC3979, because it covers the application of the IETF IPR policy in the day-to-day operations of the IETF.  The title of the section is "Evaluating Alternative Technologies in IETF Working Groups".  It explains, among other things, how working groups can react to received IPR disclosures.  (Note that RFC3979 covers only WGs, and not other IETF bodies, such as the IESG or individuals ADs or whatever-none of these are currently mentioned-but I believe that Jorge and Scott will fix that bug in the next revision).

This post is about the first sentence of RFC 3979, which reads:

In general, IETF working groups prefer technologies with no known IPR claims or, for technologies with claims against them, an offer of royalty-free licensing.

I propose to replace this sentence with:

In general, to solve a given problem, the IETF prefers technologies with no known IPR over technologies with IPR claim(s) against them.  With respect to technologies with IPR claim(s) against them, the IETF prefers open-source-friendly non-assert terms over reasonable and non-discriminatory royalty-free terms (RAND-Z), over technologies offered under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms but possibly incurring royalties (RAND), over technologies with IPR against them where the terms are non-RAND or, in the worst case, where the IPR is declared as being not licensable.

I believe that the above change reflects reality in the IETF at large as of 2013, and obviously only to the point I have insight.  I believe that the RFC3979 text does not reflect reality as of 2013.

The perhaps most important change is to acknowledge the existence of a (free and) open source ecosystem which, in at least some cases, has difficulties in accepting technologies for which bi-lateral licenses need to be signed, regardless of whether those licenses are royalty-free or not or whether unlicensed use of the technology generally is tolerated even if it were against the text of the disclosure. Let me also note that we have (moderately) recent examples of IETF RFCs with IPR claims that cover all categories mentioned above, including the final one.

The list of categories could easily be extended, especially with respect to the broad "open-source friendly non-assert" part.  However, doing so meaningfully would quite likely require references to licensing schemes supported by certain open source "camps", and I do not believe that the IETF needs to go down to that granularity, nor could I stand the flame wars that would likely break out.  So I tried to keep it simple by saying that there is something "better" from an adoption viewpoint than RANDZ, but "worse" than IPR-claim-free, without going into details.

I also stayed away from defining "RAND".  I mentioned RAND a because the vast majority of IETF disclosures mention RAND for reasons that are known to the disclosers, the requirement for reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing is commonly believe to offer some protection, even if the amount of protection offered is currently unclear, and because RAND is a requirement for normative down referencing to many other SDOs.  I do not believe that the cumulative expertise of this list has the expertise--let alone the authority--to define the term RAND.

Thanks for your consideration of my proposal.


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Russ Housley | 2 Aug 10:48 2013

IETF 87 IPRbis BOF evaluation

I attended the IPRbis BOF.  The idea is to update the BCPs to incorporate experience from the last 8 years.  Jorge Contreras and Scott Bradner had a list of proposed changes, and they were each discussed in turn.  The discussion was much more calm than the discussion in Orlando, but this calmness did not allow review of all of proposed changes.  As a result, the BOF ended without a real conclusion.  By impression is that the I-D will be updated based on the ones that were discussed, and that discussion is needed on the remaining proposed changes.

I'd recommend a thread on each proposed change on the ipr-wg <at> ietf.org so that there is a hope of getting this stuff done before the end of 2013.
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tsg | 21 Jun 21:02 2013

IPR Problems - Re: [Geopriv] IPR disclosures on draft-ietf-geopriv-held-measurements

On 06/21/2013 07:34 AM, Alissa Cooper wrote:
> Several IPR disclosures were filed against a GEOPPRIV document,
draft-ietf-geopriv-held-measurements, which is now in IESG review:
 Please send comments to the list by Friday, 28 June if you have concerns related to these IPR disclosures.
> Thanks,
> Alissa
> _______________________________________________
> Geopriv mailing list
> Geopriv <at> ietf.org
> https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/geopriv

The IPR system is an issue - there are already numerous IPR filings 
which would clearly apply to this same filing and the need to formally 
update them or add new IPR linkages is an issue. Mine for instance 
relative to our rights on the shared-use US6370629 patent.

Todd Glassey


// Standard "perasonal email" disclaimers apply
tsg | 21 May 22:35 2013

The IPR filing form has a flaw... Patent Assignee's dont always control or have licensing authority on them.

  The IPR filing form assumes that the Party the Patent in the filing is 
assigned to also controls the licensing and that is not always true.  
dTo that end - some form of notation or role-specific type statement 
needs to be created for this form as well to meet this specific (and 
more and more common) situation.

Todd Glassey