[Members] Patents and Copyright in XEPs

Arc Riley arcriley at gmail.com
Thu Jan 16 20:13:23 UTC 2014


On patents, I have always liked IETF's stance of disclosure.

Obviously I don't think the XSF should promote any XEP which cannot be
implemented freely since it prevents that XEP from being implemented by
FOSS clients/servers.  Trying to codify what it means for something to be
free to implement is a bit more tricky, though, and highly situationally
dependent.

For example, there are patent pools which are free to implement so long as
the implementer has signed into a mutual non-enforcement pact.  A debate on
this could make the 300+ message threads on debian-legal look small by
comparison!

Promoting an XEP with known patents in such a pool would, inverse to most
software patent situations, be trivial for FOSS software to implement but
several larger corporations who haven't signed into those pacts would not
be able to implement those XEPs.  The XSF's promotion of that XEP would be
a more than symbolic in promoting that patent pool.

Disclosure is what allows such discussions to take place.



On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 5:41 PM, Dave Cridland <dave at cridland.net> wrote:

> On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 5:36 PM, Winfried Tilanus <winfried at tilanus.com>wrote:
>
>> On 16-01-14 16:29, Kurt Zeilenga wrote:
>>
>> Hi,
>>
>> > and one note more specifically about patents...
>> >
>> > good luck getting any large firm to assign needed patents to the XSF.
>>
>> I hoped to make clear that this practice is a dead end indeed, by
>> pointing out that only patent attorneys would get rich from implicitly
>> assigning patents to the XSF.
>>
>> But still we have to decide if we want a royalty free general license or
>> use patent licensing to protect the interests of the XSF (and make life
>> of others more difficult.)
>>
>
> There's essentially four cases:
>
> 1) No patents impact a XEP.
>
> We can cope with this one fine, of course.
>
> 2) A contributor/participant owns (or represents the owner of) a patent.
>
> Here, we could require disclosure or licensing.
>
> 3) A contributor/participant is aware of a third party patent.
>
> Here, we can only require disclosure.
>
> 4) A third-party patent exists which is unknown to any participant.
>
> In this instance, we're stuffed whichever way.
>
> The IETF goes for disclosure; the intent is that other participants can
> take a view on it during the standards process if possible.
>
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