[OpenID board] [legal] Feedback on latest drafts of OpenID IPR Policy and Process

Dick Hardt dick at sxip.com
Mon Dec 3 06:13:20 UTC 2007

I have written a longer post on where I think the IPR Process and  
Policy should go. Below is a summary of the two core issues I have  
with the current policy and process:

Breadth of NAA coverage
The objective in having Contributors execute a NAA to participate in  
a WG is so that the Contributor does not lead the group down the  
garden path of a patent that an evil Contributor has and then  
surprise everyone at the end. Given that some people are evil and  
would like to play this game, we have just changed the means by which  
the game is played. They can't be a contributor, but they can be part  
of the OpenID Community, implement OpenID specifications and still  
make infringement claims against implementors of an OpenID  
specification they did not contribute to.

I strongly think we want ALL members of the OpenID Community to make  
non-assert promises, not just the contributors. If someone does not  
want to make a non-assert about a particular specification, that  
should be a wake up call around the IP on that specification, and I  
would suggest we NOT publish a specification as an OpenID  
specification if there is any reason to believe the specification is  
encumbered. It is not the right thing to do to promote a  
specification that is suspected will cause implementors IP issues in  
the future.

Elite vs Community
The direction of the specifications council of being representation  
vs full meritocracy is in the wrong direction from my point of view.
The Board and the Specs council should serve at the pleasure of the  
Community. Being elected by the community does not mean the Board or  
council are representing the Communities interest. So much can happen  
in two years, that OpenID can be in a completely different direction  
by the time a new set of elections happen.

I think a specications council that assists members in created WG  
charters and in preparing for specifactions to go final makes sense.  
Their role is to impart their wisdom and smooth the process -- not  
decide the result.

I strongly feel the power should be with the Community, not the  
Board, and not the Specifications  Council. The Community should  
decide on starting WGs, finalization of Specifications and changes to  
the process and policy.

-- Dick

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