Dean, all these excellent issues have to be dealt with if/when use of
RFIDs becomes a normal part of IETF logistics. It's not.
Excerpts from Dean Willis on Sun, Sep 13, 2009 09:33:56PM -0500:
Seriously, it does have major implications for intellectual property
Let's say JoeBob attends a meeting of the FRILL working group, then
goes home to patent a nifty new innovation in FRILL, which is then
bought for $1 by a patent troll when JoeBob's company goes broke
because his board of directors blew their investment capital on
stocking their break room with headcheese. Said patent troll then
sues some defendant, whose legal team later notices that said FRILL-
enhancement had been discussed at IETF 211 while JoeBob, the
inventor, was in the room, thereby invalidating the patent (and
making JoeBob look like a doofus).
Okay, so that's not an example with too many negatives, unless
JoeBob decides to sue us for making him look like a doofus.
Now let's presume that some people remember (and that some other
people don't remember) JoeBob being in the room during the
discussion, but IETF"s RFID tracker log shows that JoeBob was
hanging out with me in the bar. Does IETF's failure to maintain the
record that invalidates the patent make us liable to the defendant?
Or worse yet, IETF can't produce the RFID logs in response to a
court order, because somebody goofed and deleted them. Was this a
conspiracy to protect the patent troll? Who got bribed to make it
happen? How many hundreds of thousands of euros we would like to
spend on the paperwork related to the various discovery motions we
might have to endure?
In other words, any retained information increases liability, both
for the accuracy of the retained information and for the
preservation of the retained information. That's why we must both
have a policy about how that information is obtained and preserved,
and we must live up to that policy, whatever it says.
Of course, the easiest policy is to retain no information. But even
that has its consequences. For example, is deliberate ignorance
consistent with industry best-practices? How does this interact with
the Sarbanes-Oxley requirements of our sponsors? And why would a
startup company stock its break room with headcheese anyhow?
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