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RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 19:39 UTC (Tue) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
Parent article: The Opus codec becomes an IETF standard

There are patent disclosures with RAND terms and "possible royalty/fee" that aren't compatible with Open Source.


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RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 19:46 UTC (Tue) by gmaxwell (guest, #30048) [Link]

These are inapplicable to Opus, anyone that wants can post statements.

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 19:51 UTC (Tue) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510) [Link]

Hi Greg,

Anyone who wants can file lawsuits, too. I think it's fair to say these two companies are marking what they think is future territory for a lawsuit, and also attempting to assert treble damages for knowing infringement.

It's too bad they aren't interested in cooperating. Has there been much effort to lobby them?

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 21:03 UTC (Tue) by gmaxwell (guest, #30048) [Link]

There was, of course, a significant effort applied to ensure that Opus was free of these (and other) encumbrances. And the non-RF filings were not updated against future versions of the draft (but they aren't required to be so take that for whatever its worth).

My understanding from the communication we had from QC them was that their disclosure was purely driven by a employee viewing 100k foot level slides at IETF 77, and that they've never conducted any legal _or_ technical review whatsoever, never read the draft, and never looked at the code. They've filed IPR statements against a collection of other similar things, including SIP, Especially after the disclosure a lot of focus was applied by other people to make sure things were clear, something you can't say for SIP (QC's disclosure came many years after the standard was published).

(And now is when I eagerly await your posts on every comment thread about OSS SIP implementations on the net asking them the same thing)

It seems many companies have taken a conservative approach to the IETF IPR policies, with the concern that the IETF rules would be found by a court to bar enforcement of their patents unless they had filed a disclosure, so they broadcast file against anything that touches a space they have a commercial interest in.

Arguably this is a flaw in the IETF process... but when understood for what it is it can actually be quite helpful. If courts do eventually conclude that the disclosures are limiting, even if of just some parities, then even these promiscuous disclosures will greatly aid efforts to write royalty-free standards since they help focus on what review and clearance.

And, of course, if these parties to attempt patent extortion they'll lose their patent licenses to practice Opus from the actual authors. This is something that could be quite commercially expensive. I think the situation is pretty good, or otherwise I would have made sure that the standard was not published. IIRC, the only comments raised during the final consensus comment about the non-RF filings were people saying they were inapplicable.

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 22:16 UTC (Tue) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510) [Link]

And now is when I eagerly await your posts on every comment thread about OSS SIP implementations on the net asking them the same thing

We're not driving the standards organizations in the right direction. The promotion of open-stand.org is especially disquieting, as the platform they've chosen says that RAND is OK, and even W3C got behind that.

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 23:21 UTC (Tue) by tterribe (✭ supporter ✭, #66972) [Link]

> If courts do eventually conclude that the disclosures are limiting...

Well, at least one court has already found that they are: http://www.mofo.com/pubs/xpqPublicationDetail.aspx?xpST=P...

My favorite part of that ruling being that this is true even if the disclosure rules are unclear, and even if they don't impose a duty to disclose at all (so long as the parties involved believe they do).

And if you look at the parties involved in that case, it may make their current "spray and pray" strategy a little more understandable, if not exactly appreciated.

But, yes, the best part about the IETF IPR policy is that, unlike the ISO or ITU policies used to produce video codecs, it requires disclosure of specific patent and/or application numbers up front, which prevents you from having to fight statements like, "All video codecs are patented."

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 12, 2012 16:34 UTC (Wed) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510) [Link]

Thank you. I hadn't looked at these cases. Time to go to another IPR conference, I guess.

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 20:07 UTC (Tue) by tterribe (✭ supporter ✭, #66972) [Link]

Hi Bruce,

Please see the statement on Opus's royalty-free status from our previous article: https://hacks.mozilla.org/2012/08/opus-support-for-webrtc/
I believe everything we said there was accurate and still applies.

We'd love to say a lot more about the IPR disclosures you referenced, but are still waiting for approval from our legal department. I'm sure you understand the difficulties with being allowed to say in public as much as we already have.

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 11, 2012 20:20 UTC (Tue) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510) [Link]

Hi Tim,

I wrote to the appropriate people at Qualcom about this, asking for them to help to get the company on board. I don’t know anyone at Huawei.

I understand that you won’t be allowed to say anything without approval of counsel.

If companies that obviously make use of tons of Open Source software in their products take the stance that they will also attempt to encumber our work, we really should put some social pressure upon them. This is regardless of whether we think their patents are actually applicable or not – they are making the claim and should bear the cost of that.

Of course, we should allow some time for them to change their minds, or for private contacts to do their work.

But there should be a date beyond which we do something, if these declarations are unchanged.

I am happy to speak confidentially with any party, +1 510-4PERENS if you’d like to call.

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 12, 2012 23:35 UTC (Wed) by ewan (subscriber, #5533) [Link]

It strikes me that if you're trying to convince people that this codec is free of sundry legal nasties, then "I can't even talk about it without my lawyer" is about the least confidence inspiring thing you could possibly say.

RAND licensed patents with possible royalty/fee

Posted Sep 12, 2012 7:47 UTC (Wed) by Seegras (guest, #20463) [Link]

So what, these patents are illegal anyway, since their validity is based upon total bogus reasoning ("Moby Dick Support Device")
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4571960268239...
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2299319819326...


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