Subject: RE: IETF IP Contribution Policy
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 09:43:03 -0800

Brian Carpenter wrote:
> I am not a lawyer but I do understand enough
> law to know that I cannot give you the Brooklyn Bridge,
> because I don't own it. 
<snip>
> Your very selective quote from one document in a set of documents
> is, as far as my non-lawyer understanding goes, merely saying
> "The IETF cannot grant rights that it does not own."

In this case, your understanding of the law is right on, but your
understanding of the implications for the IETF policy is dead wrong.

Of course a contributor can't give patent rights it doesn't own. BUT IT CAN
GIVE IETF PATENT RIGHTS IT DOES OWN! AND IT SHOULD!

There is no reason whatsoever, other than their obstinacy and greed, for
patent-owning IETF contributors not to be required to include along with
their copyrightable contributions to IETF the necessary patent licenses THAT
THEY ARE ABLE TO GRANT to practice those contributions in commercial
products, both open source and proprietary.

The Apache Software Foundation demands that. W3C and Oasis demand that. Why
shouldn't IETF?

We don't have to get *all* drunk drivers off the road in order to reduce
traffic accidents substantially.

/Larry


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Brian E Carpenter [mailto:brc@zurich.ibm.com]
> Sent: Friday, January 19, 2007 8:55 AM
> To: lrosen@rosenlaw.com
> Cc: 'Legal Discuss'; license-discuss@opensource.org; ipr-wg@ietf.org
> Subject: Re: IETF IP Contribution Policy
> 
> (Please forward to the non-IETF lists on copy.)
> 
> (I apologise to the ipr-wg list for being off topic,
> but I believe one further factual clarification is
> required.)
> 
> Larry, I am not a lawyer but I do understand enough
> law to know that I cannot give you the Brooklyn Bridge,
> because I don't own it. Thus:
> 
> On 2007-01-18 19:41, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> 
> > ... (it also being understood that the licenses granted under this
> paragraph
> > (E) shall not be deemed to grant any right under any patent, patent
> > application or other similar intellectual property right disclosed by
> the
> > Contributor under [RFC3979]).
> 
> Your very selective quote from one document in a set of documents
> is, as far as my non-lawyer understanding goes, merely saying
> "The IETF cannot grant rights that it does not own."
> 
> That isn't in fact policy; it's a statement of the blindingly
> obvious, in the context of the full set of documents.
> As others have told you, it's not a "draft policy" in any case;
> it's old news, first approved in RFC 3667 (January 2004),
> but since it's a statement of the obvious, it wasn't news
> even then. Again, I'm not a lawyer, but to me it's a direct
> implication of the older formulation of the same IPR policy
> approved in 1996. I don't think anyone implementing any IETF
> standards has ever been in serious doubt about this point.
> 
> Regards
> 
>      Brian Carpenter
>      IETF Chair