On Tue, 12 Aug 2008, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
Scott Brim asked:
How can a description of how to use a technology infringe on a patent?
It can't. :-)
This isn't an entirely accurate and I'm always worried about inaccurate
assertions from a lawyer. I think that one must be completely forthright
about the possibilities. While I agree with Atty Rosen's position and I
hope it will prevail, I have run into lawyers who assert that source
code distribution does infringe a patent. There is no case law that I
know of to back that up on patents and source code, but recent copyright
cases have taken a very broad view of what constitutes copyright
infringement, and this might signal a broader view on what constitutes
The IETF must consider indirect infringement, where one merely
encourages others to infringe, and contributory infringement, where the
only use of a non-infringing device or method is to infringe a patent.
I think the correct answer here is "An IETF could possibly infringe on a
But neither does IETF have any responsibility to parse and evaluate any of
the frivolous claims made in IPR disclosures. Responding to loose IPR claims
in public here only gives them undeserved credence. People and companies
will file what IPR disclosures they will; other people will evaluate their
importance when it becomes important to do so.
I don't know what a "loose IPR claim" is. However, it seems incumbent
on the WG chairs and the IESG to evaluate the IPR claims made IPR
disclosures to the same extent as anyone else. The WG Chairs and the
IESG have a duty of due diligence to ensure that IETF documents don't
indirectly infringe on patents nor engage in contributory infringement.
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