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Subject: Re: [chairs] Patent license friction...


I believe the SSTC is operating under the legacy IPR policy. TCs  
under the current (new) policies incur much clearer and well- 
understood obligations, which should go a long way toward reducing  
friction and confusion.

In general I believe the reason law tends to be difficult is that it  
is difficult to clearly state in language precise rules where the  
concerns of various parties are met. The new OASIS policy attempts to  
do this as clearly as possible, specifying the "features" of the  
license that may be used in the different IPR modes, providing more  
clarity on the licenses that may be obtained.

However, within the scope of the OASIS policy it is the right of a  
patent holder to write their license. Likewise it is not unreasonable  
to have more than one means of obtaining a license from a patent  
holder, although it may be in everyone's interest to make it easier.

In the specific example, I would take the "would" to indicate that a  
license will be granted if and when needed, which seems reasonable.  
I'd recommend consult your attorney for advice if you haven't already  
done so.

However, I believe the current IPR policy is a big step forward  
toward clarity. However, as you note, it is realistic to expect to  
contact patent holders for licenses as needed.


regards, Frederick

Frederick Hirsch

[1] http://www.oasis-open.org/who/intellectualproperty.php

On Apr 27, 2006, at 4:59 PM, ext Wachob, Gabe wrote:

> This is a real basic questions that has been nagging at me for  
> quite a while.
> Lets say I want to use a OASIS specification (lets take SAML 2.0 -  
> I'm not picking on them - but it makes a good illustration). I note  
> that there are various IPR disclosures at http://www.oasis-open.org/ 
> committees/security/ipr.php - and some of these disclosures state  
> that the patent owners *will* license their Patents for the purpose  
> of SAML. Some express covenants not to assert claims. Some point to  
> blanket licenses on web sites.
> If I were a lawyer I would find this situation a) confusing, b)  
> scattered and c) potentially dangerous. For example, on that page,  
> Fidelty states that it "would grant to any other person or legal  
> entity a royalty-free, nonexclusive, nontransferable, license under  
> Fidelity's NECESSARY CLAIMS to implement the SAML v2.0 OASIS  
> Standard, and sell, promote or otherwise distribute the resulting  
> implementation. "
> Note the word "would". I don't see that Fidelty actually *has*  
> granted a license. Thus, while they would now have a hard time  
> enforcing the patent (given theories of estoppel, etc), I don't  
> believe that Fidelty actually *has* granted a license. It appears  
> that I have to go to Fidelty and get a license if I wish to use  
> SAML. (Not picking on Fidelity - they are just first on the list of  
> disclosers).
> Are people aware of this? Do users of SAML specifications actually  
> know that they apparently aren't actually licensed to use the  
> patents that Fidelity believes it has? Doesn't this (or rather, if  
> lawyers were paying attention, *shouldn't* this) be a concern? I  
> realize this TC operated under the legacy IPR policy - I wonder how  
> that affects things.
> If a implementer/user of SAML were to actually be careful with  
> their use of the SAML specs, they'd actually have to contact  
> Fidelity to execute the license. I think this should be  
> highlighted! If a contributor wants to contribute, and they don't  
> offer a covenant or other blanket license (or a URL to a blanket  
> license, etc), this potentially increases the friction for adoption.
> In an ideal world, there'd be one patent license that every patent- 
> holder contributor would agree to -- I'm not naive to believe that  
> would happen (or that OASIS could force that to happen), but I do  
> believe in notice. Only as a persistent person who actually read  
> the entire IPR disclosure page did I notice that to use SAML 2 I  
> have to somehow negotiate a license with Fidelity.. Most people  
> aren't going to do this and will be blissfully ignorant.
> I think as a practical matter, most patent holders who are  
> contributing to OASIS specs don't really want to deal with  
> individual licensing -- but OASIS IPR policy doesn't really push or  
> guide patent holders to put up blanket unilateral licenses -- its  
> up to each IPR holder to license (or covenant) in what ever way  
> they want.
> I think, in short, that OASIS should guide patent holders towards  
> the lowest friction licenses possible by suggesting (not forcing)  
> patent holders to use a standardized license (or at least suggest  
> that patent holders post a "click-through" or unilateral license).
>    -Gabe
> P.S. If I'm wrong about any of the facts, please let me know ... I  
> could have easily missed something.
> __________________________________________________
> gwachob@visa.com
> Chief Systems Architect
> Technical Innovation and Standards Management
> Visa International
> Phone: +1.650.432.3696   Fax: +1.650.554.6817

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