2009-02-08 IETF and Patents

Based on an email I received just now, I was suddenly inspired to write the following:

To whom it may concern,

I’ve heard from the Free Software Foundation that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is trying to propose a standard encumbered by a patent claimed by RedPhone Security. I heard that RedPhone has given a license to anyone who implements the protocol, but they still threaten to sue anyone that uses it.

Patents are a tricky issue for Free Software. As a developer of Free Software, I urge you to reconsider the proposal and push for a standard unencumbered by patents. Patents will lead to problems, as you must know based on the discussion around RFC 2026 section 10 leading to RFC 3668 and your position that “The IESG will not make any explicit determination that the assurance of reasonable and non-discriminatory terms or any other terms for the use of an Implementing Technology has been fulfilled in practice.” To avoid them now is to save others from all the legal risks involved.

It is unfortunate that the patent situation in the USA has lead to this. But knowing that software patent problems cannot be resolved right here and right now, avoiding them and building truly open standards is the only promising option.

Regards from Switzerland
Alex Schröder



Today I got an email saying “Thank you for being part of a crowd of hundreds of people who have mailbombed the mailboxes of thousands of IETF ’members’ (since we don’t have any formal membership, just an email list). As a result, we all have such positive feeling about the FSF.”


AlexSchroeder 2009-02-11 23:04 UTC

Gives me such a positive feeling about the IETF...

RadomirDopieralski 2009-02-11 23:32 UTC

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