[Members] Patents and Copyright in XEPs

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Wed Jan 22 09:38:10 UTC 2014

On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 9:12 AM, Winfried Tilanus <winfried at tilanus.com>wrote:

> On 21-01-14 11:56, Kurt Zeilenga wrote:
> Hi,
> > I prefer we take the IETF approach which is to let consensus drive
> > whether the need for licensing, and the type of licensing needed,
> > depends on the particulars of the situation as determined by
> > consensus.
> That would be the most straightforward thing to do, and I would not
> object against it. But I keep wondering if we aren't missing an
> opportunity. The patent system is here, like it or not. So why not use
> it to our advantage in stead of waiting and react once we run into it?
We could accept contributions of patents, but that would mean having to
defend them, which in turn imposes legal fees on us, which in turn means we
need to ensure we have revenue sufficient to cover these.

Alternately we could accept a patent, and RF/RAND license it, in which case
we're offering no advantage (to us, to the original patent holder, etc)
compared to the original patent holder doing the same - plus it doesn't
need the XSF itself to take any stand on it.

> > I note that the IETF never itself takes a position on the vality of a
> > patent claim, neither should the XSF IMO.
> That is wise, in the end only the patent courts can make that call.
I think it's a bit more subtle than that. If the XSF said "Patent US12345,
owned by Foo Inc, covers this XEP", we're radically changing the damages
possible under a US court, and offering evidence that the patent is valid.
If instead we say "Foo Inc have informed the XSF that they claim that
patent US12345 covers this XEP; the XSF has no opinion on the validity of
this claim or the patent mentioned therein", then Foo can't use the XSF's
claim registration process as some kind of leverage in court.

> Winfried
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