Intellectual Property

RFC 2026, Section 10 established three basic principles regarding the IETF dealing with claims of Intellectual Property Rights:

(a) the IETF will make no determination about the validity of any particular IPR claim

(b) the IETF following normal processes can decide to use technology for which IPR disclosures have been made if it decides that such a use is warranted

(c) 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 ultimately Cover the technology under discussion. This applies to both Contributors and other participants, and applies whether they contribute in person, via email or by other means. The requirement applies to all IPR of the participant, the participant's employer, sponsor, or others represented by the participants, that is reasonably and personally known to the participant. No patent search is required.

These principles were reconfirmed in March 2005 when RFC 3979, was published as part of BCP 79.

There have seen an increasing number of IPR statements being posted late in the IETF standards process. These statments are posted on the IETF web site

Internet-Draft authors claim conformance with the IETF IPR rules on the front page of the drafts that they submit. The notice says:

This Internet-Draft is submitted to IETF in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Section 6 of RFC 3979 covers IPR statements. Timely IPR disclosure is important because working groups need to have as much information as they can while they are evaluating alternative solutions. For IETF stream documents that are not affiliated with any working group, individuals must ensure that all appropriate IPR statements are submitted in time for discussion by the community.

The IESG is working on a policy regarding tardy IPR disclosure submission.

There are three reasons that an IPR Statement can be removed from the IETF web site:

(1) If IPR statements are manifestly bogus. The Secretariat requires approval of one Area Director to remove such an IPR disclosure.

(2) If someone who appears to have authority for a company claims that an IPR disclosure allegedly made by the company was fraudulently submitted. The Secretariat requires approval of one Area Directorto remove such an IPR disclosure.

(3) If a court orders IETF to take an IPR disclosure down, then The Secretariat should obviously do so. No further authorization is needed.

In these cases, the deleted IPR disclosure is removed from the IETF web site, but the Secretariat must keep an internal, non-public record of the IPR disclosure in case it's needed later in a dispute.

Last modified 12 years ago Last modified on 03/02/09 21:40:28