Oasis IPR policy

Eve’s post draws my attention to this argument in support of the Oasis IPR policy.

It would be a good thing if we had a more in depth discussion of what makes for a good IPR policy for a large rambling standards bodies. Lots of polarization on this topic. Pretending that patent pooling isn’t part of the job of a standards body doesn’t fix the problem. Standards bodies need to work to create certainty about about the rules and that includes creating bundles of patent rights.

But, back to the posting. I disagree. It makes two arguments. First is a you pay you play argument and second is this IPR stuff is just like the rest of the negotiation. Too simple. The pay/play argument is the power argument; and that tends to be toxic to collaborative activities. While you can’t eliminate the pay/play arguments in these organizations bringing them into the foreground is usually a sign things are breaking down. That said, the open source community has standing in this discussion. Pretending it doesn’t is silly.

The essay argues that the long term benefit of having meeting the needs of the open source community are less than the short term benefit of attracting various parties to standards negotiation table. But is that really a trade-off that needs to be made? The trade-off: shunning the most likely source of momentum over the long run in exchange for a hypothetical increase in labor in the short run. It’s also rhetorical a balancing act first you have you have to tell one group of people to take a hike. On the other hand you need to argue that leaving the IPR policy structured so each technical committee must guard against IPR traps is actually more inclusive and fair minded. I’m not convinced.

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