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Subject: Non-Standards Track Documents at OASIS Comment

Dear OASIS Board members,

I am writing this message to you as a member of several OASIS Technical Committees and as the primary representative of an OASIS member company.

OASIS has recently adopted the concept of non-standards track documents. The TC process states:

Non-Standards Track Work Products are intended to be informative and explanatory in nature. They are not subject to the patent licensing and non-assertion obligations requirements of the OASIS IPR Policy.”


The addition of a concept of non-standards track work products is useful and the intent is well-appreciated. These products can help promote adoption and use of a standard, and being able to produce such documents within OASIS increases the value of an OASIS membership. The statement that the patent licensing and non-assertion obligations do not apply to these documents seems to make sense, as the nature and purpose of these documents is typically to not define any new technical functionality.

Unfortunately, the TC process has the following additional requirements in the section (9) Restrictions and Disclaimers.

The cover page of a Non-Standards Track Work Product must clearly and conspicuously state that the patent provisions of the IPR Policy do not apply to that Non-Standards Track Work Product. [..] Documents which use formats that support headers and footers should indicate on every page whether the document is a Standards Track Work Product or Non-Standards Track Work Product. In these cases, every Non-Standards Track Work Product must also have a brief statement on every page that the patent provisions of the IPR Policy do not apply.


Here are some questions:

Does the exclusion of non-standards track documents from the IPR policy mean that e.g. a TC operating in RF Mode cannot assert that any non-standards track work product that it produces is also RF? Is there an intention to allow e.g. RF Mode TCs to produce RAND non-standards track documents? If yes, is there any indication from any TC in OASIS that any of them want this option? It would seem to be simpler to have a single IPR mode for all work products of a TC (covering both tracks), or perhaps even to require all non-standards track work products from any TC to use the least limiting of all OASIS IPR modes (allowing all TCs to produce RF good practice for standards, which themselves may or may not be RF). Why isn't one of these simpler options adopted?

Furthermore, why is it that this indication has to be included on every page? Is it not enough to have it once in a “clear and conspicuous” place? If it is so important to draw the attention of readers to it, I can imagine other areas where warnings are equally or more relevant. (E.g. it might make much more sense to warn readers of a specification from a RAND TC that they specification they are reading is not from an RF Mode TC). What is it that singles out this particular area? The consequence of this requirement is that the OASIS templates that TC Admin offers for this category have more reminders about IPR policy and patent provisions than there are pages in the document. In the templates, these IPR reminders come across as health warnings on cigarette packages: the proliferation of warnings and legalisms in these templates (reflecting the OASIS policies that they correctly implement) will scare and put off the audience that TCs want to reach out to.

My request to the OASIS Board is therefore to change the OASIS processes to allow TCs to produce Non-Standards documents that support users of standards and increase adoption of OASIS standards and that do not raise unnecessary IPR concerns. In its present form, the implementation of the concept of Non-Standards Track documents is a major disappointment for any TC that had hoped to be able to produce documents of this type within OASIS. This implementation will also reinforce the perception among critics that OASIS is becoming overly bureaucratic, and increasingly more so than similar organizations. Having seen what a Non-Standards Track Work Product will have to look like under current rules, I personally doubt any TC in OASIS will want to produce any product in this track.

Respectfully submitted,

Pim van der Eijk
Sonnenglanz Consulting

Copies: Laurent Liscia, OASIS TAB, OASIS TC Admin.

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