MultiService Forum (MSF)
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy Statement
The following sets forth the
Intellectual Property Rights Policy of the
MultiService Forum, (MSF)
effective as of March 16, 1999
- "Implementation Agreement(s)" shall mean specifications, protocols, system architectures and other similar guidelines related to multiservice switching system technologies that may be developed, adopted, published or otherwise made available to the public by the MSF.
- "Intellectual Property Rights" (IPR) shall mean trademarks, copyrights, patents or any similar registered intellectual property rights.
- "Technical Contribution(s)" shall mean the approved MSF procedure in effect from time to time hereunder, by which Members submit technical proposals for inclusion, all or in part, in MSF Implementation Agreements. Technical Contributions may or may not contain IPR.
- "Technical Reference Document(s)" shall mean any technical information submitted to the MSF by Members that is for reference purposes only. The content of Technical Reference Documents is not under any circumstances considered for inclusion in MSF Implementation Agreements.
- The MSF is an open membership organization committed to encouraging voluntary, broad-based industry cooperation leading to the development, publication and wide-spread dissemination of information fostering open, competitive, voluntary and interoperable multiservice intra-switching system technologies. The MSF is a California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation. Modifications to the IPR Policy may be made only in accordance with the provisions of Section 6 of this policy. Comments or questions about these policies should be directed to the Forum's Board of Directors through the Executive Director.
- These policies are designed to maximize the likelihood of widespread adoption of MSF Implementation Agreements by the multiservice intra-switching system industry in general, including end-users and national and international standards-setting organizations. These policies are designed to comply with applicable law, including all federal and state antitrust laws.
- Acknowledgment of IPR
- IPR are recognized and enforced worldwide, and in certain situations, IPR holders may be able to limit the use of certain multiservice intra-switching system technologies. In those situations, IPR holders, MSF Members and nonmembers alike, should be adequately and fairly compensated for the use by others of their IPR. In some cases, use or implementation of MSF Implementation Agreements may infringe IPR of Members or nonmembers. The MSF cannot assure its Members or nonmembers that implementation or use of an MSF Implementation Agreement will not, absent an appropriate license agreement, be adversely affected by IPR belonging to a third party.
- Affirmative IPR Disclosure Obligations of MSF Members or Declaration of License Availability
- Each and every time an MSF Member submits a Technical Contribution for consideration by the MSF, the Member's representative(s) on the applicable MSF Technical Committee shall acknowledge that he or she (they) has read and supports the MSF IPR Rights Policy Statement.
- At each and every occasion calling for a vote of the Principal Members relating to adoption of an Implementation Agreement, each such voting representative of the Principal Members will be asked to either (i) verify that, to the best of their knowledge, they are not aware of any use or implementation of the proposed MSF Implementation Agreement does not infringe that Member's IPR; or (ii) state the existence of the IPR owned by them which they believe, to the best of their knowledge, would be infringed by the proposed Implementation Agreement; or (iii) declare that a license for IPR is available under Section 5(b).
- Fair Licensing Obligations of MSF Members with Respect to Technical Contributions
- Wherever possible, the MSF, on behalf of its Members, will facilitate obtaining general and specific licensing information from Members or other persons to further the interests of the MSF.
- In order to promote open, efficient, competitive and useful multiservice
intra-switching system technology, MSF Members who make Technical
Contribution(s) to the MSF must, with respect to IPR which they
own which is necessary to that Member's Technical Contribution(s)
and which may become technically essential in order to use or implement
an MSF Implementation Agreement that includes, all or in part, that
Member's Technical Contribution(s), commit to either: (i) declare
that a non-exclusive license for IPR relevant to that Member's Technical
Contribution(s) will be made available without compensation to applicants
desiring to utilize the license for the purpose of implementing
such an MSF Implementation Agreement; or (ii) declare that such
a license will be made available to applicants for consideration,
but under reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and condtions.
- Negotiations between IPR holders and potential licensees are
to be left solely to the parties concerned and are to be performed
outslide the MSF. Nonmembers who own IPR that may be infringed by
use or implementation of an MSF Implementation Agreement may, if
the Board of Directors of the MSF so determines, be contacted by
an appropriate MSF officer to determine whether such nonmember is
willing to commit to either: (i) declare that a non-exclusive license
for IPR relevant to that Members' Technical Contribution(s) will
be made available without compensation to applicants desiring to
utilize the license for the purpose of implementing such an MSF
Implementation Agreement; or (ii) declare that such a license will
be made available to applicants for consideration, but under reasonable
and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions.
- In the event a Member or any other party does not agree to make licenses available with respect to IPR relating to a Technical Contribution, the MSF shall attempt to develop and adopt MSF Implementation Agreements which do not infringe such IPR or, if this is not reasonably possible, MSF Implementation Agreements may include references to nonlicensed IPR of which the MSF is aware that may be infringed by use or implementation of the respective Implementation Agreement, together with statements as to the IPR holders' licensing policies, if known. Such references will be included in the notice described in Paragraph 5 (e) below.
- The following notice shall appear in all MSF Implementation Agreement documents:
"Note: Attention is called to the possibility that use or implementation of this MSF Implementation Agreement may require use of subject matter covered by intellectual property rights owned by parties who have not authorized such use. By publication of this Implementation Agreement, no position is taken by MSF or its Members with respect to the existence or validity of any intellectual property rights in connection therewith, nor does any warranty, express or implied, arise by reason of the publication by MSF of this Implementation Agreement. Moreover, the MSF shall not have any responsibility whatsoever for determining the existence of IPR for which a license may be required for the use or implementation of an MSF Implementation Agreement, or for conducting inquiries into the legal validity or scope of such IPR that is brought to its attention."
- Board of Directors Power to Modify IPR Policy
- When the Board of the MSF determines that modifications to the IPR policy are in the interest of the MSF's members, those modifications must be submitted to, and approved by, two thirds of the Principal Members. The changes, if approved, are not to be retroactive.
- No Loss or Limitation of Rights
- Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, unless a Member expressly agrees thereto in writing, all IPR and other intellectual property owned by, and all inventions and works created by that Member shall be and at all times remain the sole property of that Member, and such ownership of and rights in such property shall not be affected in any way by the Member's participation in the work of the MSF or any Technical Committee thereof.