On Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 5:50 PM, Barry Leiba
I am not a lawyer, but I don't think the license terms are at issue
here. As I understand it, the terms that Huawei has been specifying
in its disclosures are defensive, and shouldn't restrict standards
implementations. The issue we're discussing isn't the terms, but that
the disclosures weren't made when they should have been.
While I appreciate the recitation of unfortunate events that led us
here, I don't quite share the view that the license terms are not at
issue here. The reason that we have an IPR rule that asks us to
declare what the terms of a license are is so that the working groups'
members can evaluate both the applicability of the potentially
encumbering patents and the terms of the license.
The later those are made clear, the harder it is for the working
group. It may have to abandon a lot of work at a late stage, which is
difficult if deadlines are looming or, worse, code has been shipped.
A license which was an outright grant would have no impact on that,
so the lack of timely disclosure has a smaller overall impact. It's
still bad form, but not really more. For a royalty-bearing license,
there is an obvious cost; for a defensive license, there is a less
obvious, but potentially real, cost. If example.com sues Huawei for
any reason, they lose this license and can no longer use the
technology the WG agreed to standardize with purchasing a FRAND
license on the other (less-specified) terms.
I have no advice on this particular case, but the general point seems
to me important.
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