Current Meeting Report
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2.2.1 Intellectual Property Rights (ipr)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 55th IETF Meeting in Altanta, Georgia USA. It may now be out-of-date.

Last Modifield: 07/26/2002

Steve Bellovin <>
Rob Austein <>
General Area Director(s):
Harald Alvestrand <>
General Area Advisor:
Harald Alvestrand <>
Mailing Lists:
General Discussion:
To Subscribe:
Description of Working Group:
The IETF and the Internet have greatly benefited from the free exchange of ideas and technology. For many years the IETF normal behavior was to standardize only unencumbered technology.

While the "Tao" of the IETF is still strongly oriented toward unencumbered technology, we can and do make use of technology that has various encumbrances. One of the goals of RFC2026 "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3" was to make it easier for the IETF to make use of encumbered technology when it made sense to do so.

The IETF IPR policy, as embedded in RFC 2026 section 10, has proven fairly successful. At the same time, a perceived lack of textual clarity on some issues have made necessary the publication of clarifications such as the "note well" statement issued in every registration package, the I-D boilerplate rules, and a huge number of discussions on specific IPR-related issues.

This working group is chartered with updating and clarifying section 10 of BCP 9, RFC 2026, which deals with intellectual property rights, including, but not necessarily limited to, patent rights and copyrights.

This working group will provide three documents:

o A BCP document, updating RFC 2026, which states the IETF IPR policy on rights relevant to the document publication process, such as copyright issues and trademark issues.

o A BCP document, updating RFC 2026, which states the IETF IPR policy on rights relevant to the use of IETF-standardized technology, such as patent-related claims

o An Informational document, which describes useful rules of thumb for working group chairs and working group members when working on IPR issues, as well as describing specific cases of IPR issues that have been successfully worked out in the IETF process, and providing references to specific examples of licensing statements and copyright provisions that have proved useful or worrisome. In other words, we plan to document the running code of our process.

The working group will attempt to work in three phases:

1. Document existing IPR practice in the IETF

2. Identify issues with current IPR practice that need to be addressed

3. Modify the documents produced in step 1 to reflect the outcome of the discussion of items identified in step 2.

If there consensus of the working group for a different IPR policy than the one described in RFC 2026, the working group will seek to amend its charter to make it clear that it is changing the status quo.

The working group will have a design team to assist with document drafting and review. As always, design team drafts have no special status, and are subject to amendment, ratification, and/or replacement by the working group.

Goals and Milestones:
JUN 02  1st draft of updated IPR BCP document on documents - documenting existing practice
JUN 02  1st draft of updated IPR BCP document on technology - documenting existing practice
JUN 02  1st draft of IPR guidance document
JUL 02  List of issues that need to be discussed while revising the documents
AUG 02  2nd draft of updated IPR BCP document on documents
AUG 02  2nd draft of updated IPR BCP document on technology
SEP 02  2nd draft of IPR guidance document
SEP 02  IPR BCP document on documents sent to IETF Last Call
DEC 02  IPR BCP document on technology sent to IETF Last Call
JAN 03  IPR guidance document submitted to IESG for publication
JAN 03  Conclude WG.
No Current Internet-Drafts
No Request For Comments

Current Meeting Report

Intellectual Property Rights WG (ipr)

Monday, November 18 at 0900-1130

CHAIRS: 	Steve Bellovin <> 
		Rob Austein <>
Notetaker:	Spencer Dawkins 


 5 min	Agenda-bashing, administrivia
40 min	Scott Brader,  revised version of "Rights" drafts
30 min	Scott Brim, "Scenarios" draft
60 min	Open mike*
15 min	Where to from here?

Steve and Rob opened with a restatement of the goals of the working group - 
(1) to clarify RFC 2026, fixing omissions like trademark rights, and (2) to 
discuss the level of interest in changing current policy. (1) masks (2).

draft-ietf-ipr-submission-rights-00.txt - Scott Bradner presented WDIFF 
from the individual submissions prepared for Yokohama. 
Highlights included:

- Requirement to disclose is limited to "reasonably and personally known"

- Additional copyright statements will not be included in RFCs unless the 
specification was developed jointly with another standards body. These 
exceptions will be made case-by-case, by IAB.

- The full rights "a" boilerplate in 5.3 is required for any document a 
working group accepts (although I-Ds with the other boilerplates can be 

- Submitters need to make a statement about the ability of 
implementers to use any trademarks claimed.

- MIB copyrights will be indirect pointers to the RFCs that define the MIB 
and contain the entire copyright applicable. This will also be done with 
PIBs, for the same reasons.

Larry Masinter asked if process documents need security sections, too. 
Scott - no obvious way to distinguish between documents that do and don't 
need one.

___________ - In section 4.8, is a search required for submitters? Scott - 
search is specifically not required.

___________ - What's "reasonably known"? Jorge Contreras - this is a 
definition of the court system, from case law.

Larry Masinter - Can "reasonably and personally known" be defined in a 
positive way? Scott - send text.

Cliffin Newman, ISI - is there a difference between a contributor 
remaining ignorant and an employer ("sponsor"?) keeping a 
contributor ignorant? Jorge - doesn't cover the second case, Steve 
Bellovin - is defined in other draft. Scott - so we should use the same 
text in both drafts? Yes...

Steve Bellovin - document will be last-called on the mailing list.

draft-ietf-ipr-technology-rights-00.txt - Scott Bradner presented WDIFF 
from the individual submissions prepared for Yokohama. 
Highlights included:

- Decision to accept encumbered technology rests with the IETF, not with an 
individual working group. Document was revved to make this clearer.

Ed Juskavicius - "The IETF" means what? Scott - based on IETF Last Call. 
Brian Carpenter - "IETF following normal processes".

Christian Huitema - who is a participant in a working group? Scott - you 
should disclose if you're going to talk at a microphone or submit text.

Elizabeth Rodriguez - "All contributions" isn't "all drafts". Scott - 
there is a disconnect here - the intent is to include talk and posts to the 
mailing list, not just drafts.

Chuck Adams - submitters are making statements about IPR of all 
contributors, not just people who signed the draft - Scott - how do we 
handle this mechanistically? CC: all contributors? Requiring ACKs from all 
contributors is too burdensome, the week before I-D cutoff.

Larry Masinter - what happens when someone submits a draft with your name on 
it, and you don't agree with it? Or your name is carried over during a 
significant revision? Web submission interface? (Scott's 
thinly-veiled deprecations deleted from these minutes).

Elizabeth - other standards bodies list participants in the body of the 
draft - but they have memberships and vote, and we don't. Scott - we used to 
do this, too many participants to do it now. Embed the mailing list 
subscribers list probably not meaningful.

- In section 6.2, IPR disclosures need to be more specific than 
"anything we contribute we'll license for RAND"

Christian Huitema - precision is good. All existing disclosures are 
free-form text. Could we have boilerplate for disclosures? Scott - this has 
been suggested on the mailing list. Larry Masinter - the value of 
standard language is that it can be well understood. Scott - send text.

Kathy Nichols - how specific is "reasonably specific"? Scott - if you CAN 
say "patent number N covers section X of document Y, that would be great. 
You're REQUIRED to say, "I have IPR".

- In section 6.4, "when disclosure is required" - Christian - 
"directly or indirectly benefit" is vague. Scott - if you know about IPR at a 
previous employer, but won't benefit, do you want to be required to 
disclose it? If your previous employer had you sign a separation NDA, you 
probably won't be contributing, anyway. Christian - too much wiggle room. 
Scott - send text.

Brian Carpenter - Should 6.4 say, "when contributing to the draft"? Scott - 
no, we don't want to limit to document submitters. Signing a blue sheet or 
joining a mailing list doesn't obligate you. Going to a microphone does.

Larry Masinter - 3rd-party IPR disclosure? Scott - no obligation to do so, 
although copyright boilerplate encourages disclosure.

Bernard Aboba - spy in the room? Scott - no one is obligated to 
identify spies. You can sit in the room, you just can't talk. Bernard - How 
can we get this information? Scott - we can't, without membership and 
membership agreements. Rohan Mayes - should we make a statement about 
what's reasonable to notice? 

Larry Masinter - there's a lot of text about "individuals and 
sponsors". The world is more complicated than that (patent exchanges, 
relationships between sponsors), and this is where lots of the 
interesting questions are.

Ross Callon - It's OK to sit quietly in the room and watch people adopt 
your patented technologies - if there's a detail that DOESN'T touch your 
packet, can you contribute without disclosing? Scott - contribute to 
details if you want, but when you get sued, this will likely increase your 
vulnerability. "Err on the side of disclosure."

- Section 8 - "failure to provide notice" - don't participate. Scott Brim - 
needs to be broadened beyond "employer says 'no'".

draft-ietf-ipr-wg-guidelines-00.txt - Scott Brim presented the 
"implementation guide" for the previous drafts. Points of interest 

- Goal is to help working groups move forward in the presence of IPR 

- Draft is derivative of submission/technology drafts.

- Royalty-free IPR is desirable, but not "at any cost".  Scott Bradner - 
remember we're talking about KNOWN IPR.  UNKNOWN IPR could surface at any 

- Claims can be challenged.

- Licensing disclosures are more important than claims.  David Black - 
"claims" are defined by expensive legal process.

- It's OK to fight, and it's OK to extrapolate from previous 

Scott Brim to Jorge - the working group is an extension of the IETF. Can we 
say claims are valid? Can we say we expect the holder will not really 
license RAND?

Melinda Shore - we have very vague disclosures and licensing terms - can we 
throw a technology out for vagueness? Scott Bradner - having a WG say "we 
don't think this claim is valid" won't be pretty when we get to court.

Bill Sommerfeld - say, "participants do not feel this claim is an 
obstacle"? Jorge - talk about relative risks, not absolute value 
judgments. Christian - this is not what 2026 says.  If you have 
FUD-based DOS attacks, you have paralysis.

Scott Brim - can we prevent someone from getting up and making 
statements about the validity of claims? Scott Bradner - probably not, but 
don't spend much time on it.

Jon Peterson - there's no penalty for asserting IPR when you have none. 
Jorge - "just say 'we think benefits outweigh risks'".

Scott Brim - recounts "third-party IPR claims" as DOS attack.

Paul Wycliff - licensing trumps IPR claims - what about people who change 
their minds on RF?

Bernard Aboba - Case studies are abbreviated - should they be in this 
document? If we moved them, they could be more detailed.  This document 
clarifies the documents that clarify 2026 - isn't this IKE all over 
again? Should we move the clarifications into the other drafts?

Steve Ganna - there are cases where IPR is judged easily (RSA as 
example). Jorge - consequences to non-disclosing IPR owners is severe. 
Scott Bradner - we've assumed that working groups should consider IPR 
issues (of whatever ilk) from the beginning - this is different from other 
standards bodies.

George Michelson - you're in advance of the body of IETF plenary 
sessions. You need to carry the membership with you.  Motivations differ 
according to importance and context, and this document doesn't capture 
this. Scott Brim - you're right.

Harald Alvestrand - document is written in a style that sends readers to the 
mailing list archives for details. Is this necessary? Can we name names? 
Jorge - mailing list archives are public and could be republished. David 
Black - "it depends".  The source is the mailing list, plus other public 
records, plus other less-public records, plus conversations, plus ... 
Jorge - don't publish private statements.

IPS Case Study - Elizabeth Rodriguez

- IPS working group is making decisions today based on IPR concerns about 
claims that might or might not exist. 

- Should we add a "call for patents" as part of Note Well?  Steve 
Bellovin, the individual - I disclosed knowledge I had, but wasn't 
required to disclose under 2026. Brian Carpenter - this would be a good 
thing, but could we simply reference the 2026 obligation to disclose? 
Scott Bradner - we do this with the existing boilerplate. Adding it to Note 
Well isn't a problem.

Chuck Powers - is the obligation to disclose to any working group 
anywhere, if you put it in Note Well? Scott Bradner - no, this isn't 

- What about problems with extremely vague or general disclosures, which we 
have today? Jorge - not a lot we can do about this - no membership. 
Companies that don't disclose have the biggest risk. Larry Masinter - the 
most precise statement on this is still hopelessly vague. David Black - but 
we have these problems today. Elizabeth - and Lucent bailed on their 
blanket disclosure statement immediately anyway. We just couldn't 
evaluate these vague claims and punted on SRP, even though the working 
group preferred it.

Jon Peterson - What can we really do here? Jorge - there is a 
complaint process. Steve Bellovin - but it doesn't cover this. We don't 
have a process for this.

Melinda Shore - can we get rid of "we have patents, we can't tell you 
about them, we'll license based on them, but we can't tell you the terms, 
but they'll be fair"?

OPEN MIKE SESSION - Should we request a recharter to change our IPR 

Bruce Perens - talked about the risk of the existing policy for open 
software community. We need to limit ourselves for RF with sanctions for 
submarines. We need to raise the bar above "two interoperating 
implementations at Draft Standard" as the standard for RAND. Many 
working groups are following an informal RF policy today, no matter what 
2026 allows.

Larry Masinter - one person's clarification is another person's 
substantive change. Defining the exercise of licensing is a change. 
Clarifying our process is a policy change.

Scott Bradner - we've had one appeal of the 
multiple-implementation rule so far. Licensing could be included in 
implementation reports, but this doesn't help if we don't agree on 
"needed licenses". 

James Kempf - needs to accommodate non-US IPR policies.

Steve Hanna - Section 10 of Technology draft assumes the working group will 
prefer RF - this should be an explicit "should". Scott Bradner - we 
discussed this in Poisson, at 2026 time. We need more flexibility than just 
rules. Do we want to refocus the IETF on RF?

Paul Gleichauf - we should recharter. Licensing and engineering aren't 

Chuck Power - we should not recharter. We've discussed this for years. 
Disclosure is the hardest part. We don't need to slay other dragons. Wait 
two years before we follow W3C. Ed Juskavicius - agree. We've had 55 IETF 
meetings so far. The sky is not falling.

Scott Brim - don't recharter until we finish clarifying.  Do 
requirements, then specifications. 

Brian Carpenter - no justification to recharter.  Life is 

Joel Halpern - don't change our approach at this time.  Let W3C test 
before we adopt.

Bernard Aboba - Disclosure is the hard part. We haven't slain that dragon 
yet either.

Igor - against.

Ross Callon - IETF or ISOC could probably do SOMETHING to help - we hold 
lots of prior art in our archives, but there's no central place to keep 
track of this.  Could we have a clearinghouse? Andrew Bender - formal 
notification of prior art? Scott Bradner - Expired I-Ds are 
retrievable to help with prior art assertions, but this isn't too 
helpful (you have to know what to ask for).

CLOSING ROOM CONSENSUS - we hummed, on balance, against 
rechartering at this time.  Another hum when done with 2026 
  We'll discuss this on the IPR mailing list.


IPR Guidelines for Working Groups