Patents, IETF and Network Operators

Scott Brim scott.brim at
Thu Jan 21 16:09:45 UTC 2010

Jorge Amodio allegedly wrote on 01/21/2010 10:41 EST:
> As an starting point you should read "The Tao of the IETF" RFC4677 (currently,
> update draft in progress).
> About your particular question read section 8.4.5.
> Regards
> Jorge

Right.  And it's subtler than you think.  Some network operators have
patents (not just vendors).  Some are held by organizations that only
exist to hold patents and don't actually know much about networking.
And just because something is patented doesn't mean it isn't
interoperable -- most networking standards are patented.


> On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 9:35 AM, Abhishek Verma
> <abhishekv.verma at> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Network Ops folks use the IETF standards for their operations. I see
>> lot of nifty things coming out from the IETF stable and i was
>> wondering why those dont get patented? Why bother releasing some
>> really good idea to IETF (i.e. open standards bodies) when the vendor
>> could have patented it. The network operators can still use it as long
>> as they are using that vendor's equipment. I understand that interop
>> can be an issue, since it will be a patented technology, but it will
>> always work between the boxes from the same vendor. If so, then whats
>> the issue?
>> Is interop the only issue because of which most ideas get released
>> into IETF? I guess interop is *an* issue since nobody wants a single
>> vendor network.
>> Thanks,
>> Abhishek

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