OASIS Policy Clarifies Intellectual Property Licensing

The organization offers OASIS members three updated licensing modes that seek to unify IPR efforts.

Members of OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) now have three ways to license submissions, thanks to a new OASIS policy that clarifies the groups position on intellectual property rights.

The three modes should help strengthen licensing commitments and unify IPR efforts across all OASIS technical committees, organization officials said.

Under the terms of the new IPR policy, members working on specifications can choose to license submissions under a RAND (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) mode, an RF (Royalty-Free) on RAND mode or an RF on Limited Terms mode, according to Patrick Gannon, president and CEO of OASIS.

RAND defines a basic set of terms a patent holder is obliged to offer and leaves other, nonspecified terms to negotiations between the patent holder and the implementer seeking a license, Gannon said.

RF on RAND terms is similar to RAND terms, except that the patent holder cannot charge fees or royalties for the license.

Meanwhile, RF on Limited Terms operates like the RF on RAND terms but specifies exact licensing conditions that must be granted upon request, Gannon said.

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According to Ed Cobb, chair of the OASIS IPR committee and vice president of architecture and standards at BEA Systems Inc., until the revision, the OASIS policy was based on outdated policy from the Internet Engineering Task Force. The old rules often led to the perception that OASIS was "soft" on IPR policy, Cobb said.

Cobb said the organizations IPR policies were due for an overhaul because "there was no strong language as far as licensing commitments. There was a certain amount of uncertainty. We wanted to ... put some teeth into the policy."

Eric Newcomer, chief technology officer at Iona Technologies in Dublin, Ireland, and an OASIS member, said, "In the past, it often wasnt clear what the IP rights were that pertained to OASIS TCs [technical committees], since it was more or less up to the individual TC charter. Some of the TCs, such as BPEL [Business Process Execution Language], for example, were chartered under IP policies that continued to encumber the specs."

OASIS IPR policies

* RAND (Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) Defines basic set of terms

* Royalty-Free on RAND No charges paid for license

* Royalty-Free on Limited Terms Specifies license terms

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