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Agreements on IANA Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

One of the remaining parts of the IANA transition is the transfer of ownership of the IANA trademarks and domain names from ICANN to the IETF Trust, licensing of the intellectual property rights from the IETF Trust back to ICANN (with the right for ICANN to sublicense to PTI), and agreements about how the IETF Trust will manage the IPR in the interests of the community.

The idea of transferring the IANA trademarks and domain names appeared in the IANA transition proposal from the Numbers community (the CRISP Team proposal, section III.A.2).  This idea was incorporated into the the final IANA transition proposal from the ICG.

Both the CRISP Team and the ICG recognised that such a transfer of intellectual property rights would need coordination between multiple parties.  Most of that coordination has now been done, and draft agreements are available for public comment, until 12 September 2016.

The three draft agreements cover the following areas:

1. Transfer of ownership of the IANA-related trademarks and domain names from ICANN to the IETF Trust;

2. Licensing of the the IANA-related trademarks and domain names from the IETF Trust back to ICANN, for use in the provision of the IANA services, with permission for ICANN to sub-license to PTI;

3. A “Community Agreement” in which the IETF Trust and the three operational communities (names, numbers, and protocol parameters) agree on how the IETF Trust will manage the IANA-related trademarks and domain names in the interests of the community.

The transfer and license agreements are fairly straightforward agreements between ICANN and the IETF Trust, and the only point that I would like to note here is that there will be three licenses for the three parts of the IANA services (Names, Numbers, and Protocol Parameters).  This is because the three operational communities will have separate service agreements with ICANN or PTI, and the license agreements needs to follow the service agreements in case any operational community chooses a different IANA operator in the future.

The “Community Agreement” is a more complex agreement between multiple parties: the IETF Trust, and representatives of the three operational communities.  It creates a new committee called the Community Coordination Group (CCG) as an interface between the three operational communities and the IETF Trust.  Each operational community will need to appoint three members of the CCG, and designate one of them as a co-chair.  The IETF Trust agrees to seek advice or approval from the CCG for various matters relating to the IANA IPR.  For example, if an operational community decides to change the IANA operator for their part of the IANA services, then the CCG co-chair from that operational community notifies the IETF Trust, and then the IETF trust terminates the license to the old IANA operator and negotiates a license with the new IANA operator (in consultation with the CCG representatives).

In case the IETF Trust does something bad in the future, the operational communities might want to transfer the IANA IPR to some other owner.  This would not be possible under the current governing documents of the IETF Trust (clause 7.1 a of the Trust Agreement  says that the trustees cannot dispose of any Trust Assets).  The Community Agreement seeks to change this, saying (in clause 4.4) that the IETF Trust will seek approval from the IETF for amendment of the governing documents to allow the IANA IPR to be transferred out of the IETF Trust if the Trust is ever dissolved or commits a material breach of the Community Agreement  and fails to cure the breach.

Once again, please review the documents posted here.

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