Guidelines for Working Groups on Intellectual Property Issues
RFC 3669

Document Type RFC - Informational (February 2004; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
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IESG IESG state RFC 3669 (Informational)
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Responsible AD Harald Alvestrand
Send notices to <smb@research.att.com>, <sra@hactrn.net>
Network Working Group                                            S. Brim
Request for Comments: 3669                           Cisco Systems, Inc.
Updates: 2026                                              February 2004
Category: Informational

     Guidelines for Working Groups on Intellectual Property Issues

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This memo lays out a conceptual framework and rules of thumb useful
   for working groups dealing with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
   issues.  It documents specific examples of how IPR issues have been
   dealt with in the IETF.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   2.  The Problem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2
   3.  The Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   4.  Case Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
       4.1.  PPP CCP and ECP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
       4.2.  IPS WG (IP Storage). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
       4.3.  PEM and PKI issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
       4.4.  VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol). . . . . . . .  6
       4.5.  Secure Shell (SecSH) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
       4.6.  IDN (Internationalized Domain Name). . . . . . . . . . .  7
   5.  General Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       5.1.  Types of IPR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
       5.2.  When to Think About IPR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
       5.3.  IPR as a Technology Evaluation Factor. . . . . . . . . .  9
       5.4.  Patents versus Pending Patents Applied For . . . . . . . 10
       5.5.  Applicability: It's Hard to Prove a Negative . . . . . . 11
       5.6.  Licensing Terms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
       5.7.  Third-Party Disclosure of IPR Claims . . . . . . . . . . 14
             5.7.1 Third-Party Disclosure Advice. . . . . . . . . . . 14
   6.  Security Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   7.  Acknowledgments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Brim                         Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 3669                   WG IPR Guidelines               February 2004

   8.  References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
       8.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
       8.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   9.  Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
   10. Full Copyright Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

1.  Introduction

   This memo lays out a conceptual framework and rules of thumb to
   assist working groups dealing with IPR issues.  The goal is to
   achieve a balance between the needs of IPR claimants and the
   implementers of IETF standards which is appropriate to current times.
   As part of trying to distill out principles for dealing with IPR in
   IETF working groups, it provides case studies of working group IPR
   treatment.  In other words, it documents the running code of the IETF
   process.

   This memo does not describe IPR procedures for document authors or
   IPR claimants.  Those are covered in two other memos, on submission
   rights [5] and IPR in the IETF [6].  Rather, this memo is for working
   groups that are trying to decide what to do about technology
   contributions which have associated IPR claims.

2.  The Problem

   Traditionally the IETF has tried to avoid technologies which were
   "protected" through IPR claims.  However, compromises have been made
   since before the IETF was born.  The "common knowledge" of the IETF,
   that IPR-impacted technology was anathema, has never recognized that
   the Internet has run on IPR-impacted technologies from the beginning.
   Nowadays the majority of the useful technologies brought to the IETF
   have some sort of IPR claim associated with them.

   It will always be better for the Internet to develop standards based
   on technology which can be used without concern about selective or
   costly licensing.  However, increasingly, choosing a technology which
   is not impacted by IPR over an alternative that is may produce a
   weaker Internet.  Sometimes there simply isn't any technology in an
   area that is not IPR-impacted.  It is not always the wrong decision
   to select IPR-impacted technology, if the choice is made knowingly,
   after considering the alternatives and taking the IPR issues into
   account.

   The IETF is not a membership organization.  Other standards-making
   bodies may have membership agreements that member organizations must
   sign and adhere to in order to participate.  Membership agreements
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