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Subject: Re: re workprocess IPR placeholder

I think that we have two points to decide here:

1. Copyright and the right to use or modify schemas.

2. Patents and the problem of what happens when a participant in a
   standards committee knowingly or unknowingly induces the standard
   to be written in such a way that users of the standard run into a
   patent claim.

I think that the IETF policy Terry was pointing to is mainly concerned
with the second point.

W3C has been wrestling with this for a while.  Their current approach
is for the person representing a member organization to file a
statement like this one when announcing that organization's intention
to participate in an activity:

   To the best of my knowledge, I believe my organization
   has/doesn't have IPR claims regarding [subject].

Notice that if the representative is careful to remain scrupulously
ignorant of his or her organization's IPR claims, this statement can
always safely be made regardless of the actual state of those claims.

Why not require something stronger, like the IETF statement?

   Where the IESG knows of rights, or claimed rights under (A),
   the IETF Executive Director shall attempt to obtain from the
   claimant of such rights, a written assurance that upon
   approval by the IESG of the relevant Internet standards track
   specification(s), any party will be able to obtain the right
   to implement, use and distribute the technology or works when
   implementing, using or distributing technology based upon the
   specific specification(s) under openly specified, reasonable,
   non-discriminatory terms.

Alas, this too suffers from epistemological bogosity, relying as it
does entirely on the state of knowledge of the IETF executive director
about what some company out there may or may not secretly have in
process with the Patent Office.  This is just hand-waving.

One is tempted simply to say that any organization entering a
standards process must declare its IPR related to that process and
promise to license it to everyone.  Here we come up against a really
difficult problem: it's very difficult for *anyone* in a company of
any size to know what's actually been claimed.  There are levels of
this: one might know what's been claimed, but suppose it's turned down
before it becomes approved; then disclosing prematurely would be
giving away a trade secret.

I can think of two positions that might make sense.

1. Every OASIS member organization and every individual member
   agrees as a condition of membership to license on reasonable terms
   to any other OASIS member any IPR under their control that is
   needed to make use of any standard developed under the OASIS
   process.  This then becomes a very important part of what it means
   to be an OASIS member and what it means to develop standards
   within OASIS.

2. We give up on all attempts to control IPR in the area of patents.

I don't see any viable middle ground here.


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