[OpenID board] IPR Policy and Process Proposal

Dick Hardt dick at sxip.com
Wed Apr 25 08:38:17 UTC 2007

On 25-Apr-07, at 8:56 AM, Drummond Reed wrote:
> RE the IPR Policy, Blanket Reciprocity term, I don’t think you give  
> a license for anything other than the Necessary Claims you  
> contribute. The issue is that if you sue another Contributor for  
> ANYTHING – even something totally unrelated to OpenID – you lose  
> the license they have provided to any Necessary Claims they  
> contributed.
> See the suggestion in the Blanket Reciprocity open issue section  
> for a simple way to fix that.
> If I can't sue, I can't enforce, and I effectively have granted a  
> license. Even with the suggested change, If someone's  
> implementation infringes on a patent that is NOT required to  
> implement OpenID, then if I sue, then they can counter sue for  
> infringing on any OpenID related patent. Effectively I have granted  
> a right to any patent used in their implementation.
> [=Drummond] With the suggested change, if you sue a contributor  
> over infringement of a patent you own that has nothing to do with  
> OpenID, they can’t sue you back for infringement of their patent  
> that reads on OpenID, i.e., your suing them doesn’t invalidate  
> their “patent promise”. Only you suing them over infringement of  
> something you contributed to OpenID under the patent promise would  
> enable them to countersue you for infringement of something they  
> contributed. That’s why I like the suggested change.
That is not how I read the change. Seems clear that if you sue  
someone for any infringement in an implementation that the patent  
promise is invalidated. The infringement is not limited to necessary  

"This language sets up "blanket reciprocity", meaning that if you sue  
a Contributor for patent infringment of any kind, including  
infringement of patents of yours that have nothing to do with OpenID  
(for example a hardware patent), the Contributor is no longer bound  
by their patent promise on OpenID and can sue you for infringement of  
any Necessary Claims they have on OpenID."

> RE the formal process, I agree that essentially it’s a very  
> lightweight standards process. Call it a community process. But if  
> you read Gabe’s proposal closely, the full skeleton is there.  
> Voting (which would take place directly on the lists), membership  
> (which involves only membership on the lists), governance (which is  
> this process doc itself) is all covered – it’s all just very  
> lightweight.
> Given the IP significance of this, the voting process is too loose.  
> This is not open source software where there is a right to fork and  
> on-going support of a core group is needed to move forward. The  
> dynamics around a standard are quite different, and my experience  
> with voting on the OpenID list has been very disappointing and  
> inconclusive.
> [=Drummond] I can only say that with this lightweight IPR process  
> in place, voting on the list would become more formal and “tighter”  
> while still being a lot less heavy than standard SDOs.
Tighter means more process -- I'd like to see how it would be made  
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