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."
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