FW: IETF IP Contribution Policy

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Fri Jan 19 18:35:41 UTC 2007

At John Klensin's request, I am forwarding this email to the OSI and Apache
lists. /Larry

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John C Klensin [mailto:john-ietf at jck.com]
> Sent: Friday, January 19, 2007 10:32 AM
> To: lrosen at rosenlaw.com
> Cc: 'Brian E Carpenter'; ipr-wg at ietf.org
> Subject: RE: IETF IP Contribution Policy
> As others have requested, I hope these notes are being forwarded
> to the other lists that you have copied.  My apologies to the
> IPR list for more traffic on the subject: it would really be
> useful, IMO, if we could clarify this issue enough to reduce the
> FUD, even if we don't end up in complete agreement.
> --On Friday, 19 January, 2007 09:43 -0800 Lawrence Rosen
> <lrosen at rosenlaw.com> wrote:
> >...
> > The Apache Software Foundation demands that. W3C and Oasis
> > demand that. Why shouldn't IETF?
> >...
> Assuming this question is not rhetorical, it deserves a response
> because that response, IMO, lies at the root of the issue here.
> Certainly, Larry, you are entitled to your opinion as to what
> the IETF should be doing.  You are even entitled to advocate for
> it passionately.  But hyperbole and pretending things are
> self-evidently true doesn't help us make progress and, at least
> IMO, reflects badly on you and perhaps on your profession.
> ANSI does not demand it.  IEEE does not demand it.  ISO does not
> demand it and ITU doesn't either.  Very few of the ISO national
> Member Bodies demand it.  The patent policies of these groups
> are not the same, but they  have in common that, like the IETF,
> they do not demand patent transfers as a condition of either
> standardization or participation. For each of them, the patent
> rights granted may, in practice, differ from one standard to the
> next.
> If I were to use the logic you appear to be using above, I would
> suggest that each of those groups, and the IETF, has developed
> and maintained more standards with serious impact on the
> marketplace than all three of the groups you identify put
> together.  I might then suggest that the difference in
> experience and marketplace success should turn the correct
> question into "why shouldn't Apache, W3C, and Oasis get in line
> with the IETF and the other, more established, SDOs".  But that
> would be as non-productive as I believe your line of argument to
> be.
> The more useful answer is that the field has a long history of
> useful developments occurring in two types of forums.  One is
> often characterized as a consortium, with specific membership
> requirements that often include high fees and/or rather specific
> and legally-binding conditions for participation, often
> including release of patent rights... either to the consortium,
> to other participants on some sort of "share alike" basis, or
> more generally.   One nice thing about a consortium model is
> that it is clear that enterprises and individuals that do not
> share the consortium's specific goals, objectives, and, often,
> intended methods (I'm tempted to add "religion") are not welcome
> and typically don't join or are quickly eased out.    The three
> organizations you name conform more or less well to the
> consortium definition.
> The other model is what is usually called a Standards
> Development Organization (SDO), Open Standards Body, or some
> variation on those terms.  They tend to be more open than the
> consortia -- "open" in the sense of accommodating a wider range
> of enterprises, inputs, goals, and policies.  In most cases,
> they even try to invite and respect a balance of interests,
> although that can be more or less explicit.   One thing that the
> SDOs I have listed above, and the IETF, have in common is that
> we don't tell people "if you don't accept our view that
> standardization does not imply free and general licensing,
> without restrictions or application procedures of any sort, you
> are not welcome to participate here".  All of us --again, in
> different terms and different degrees of explicitness-- are
> "open" enough to tell organizations "you are welcome to come in
> here, disclose your IPR claims, present your technology, and
> make the case that it is important enough, and enough better
> than the alternatives, to justify standardization despite the
> encumbrances.
> We, and many of the rest of the SDO group, have historically
> believed that this is more open, and more likely to lead to best
> practice results, than applying entrance constraints that tell
> some parties they can't participate.   We believe that our
> arrangements are more likely to yield the best solutions when
> all of the issues and considerations are balanced --on a
> per-standard basis when necessary-- rather than having to select
> the best solution that is consistent with the sometimes much
> narrower range of choices dictated by the absolute criterion of
> one particular patent licensing regime.
> You may disagree.  You may continue advocating strongly for your
> particular point of view (although preferably not on this list)
> whether you disagree or not.  But please stop suggesting that
> your position is the only possible rational one, that everyone
> else is doing things the way you prefer and only the IETF is
> deviant, or that the IETF is suddenly adopting a regressive
> policy.  That approach doesn't help us move forward... and
> because the "engineers" out here are fairly good at reasoning
> through things, it doesn't advance your case either.
>   regards,
>      john

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