Submitted by Shel Finkelstein, Technical Director, Sun Microsystems

Sun wishes to make clear that if and when it is determined that Sun owns patent claims which would necessarily be infringed by any implementation of the Open Grid Services Infrastructure (OGSI) Specification 1.0 (“Necessary Claims”), then any party will be able to obtain from Sun a royalty-free license covering such Necessary Claims for the creation use and distribution of compliant implementations of the OGSI Specification 1.0 as finally approved by Global Grid Forum. This license may be subject to the condition that the licensee agree to grant reciprocal royalty-free licenses under its Necessary Claims to Sun and any other creator, user or distributor of compliant implementations of the OGSI Specification.

The foregoing statement with respect to the current OGSI Specification is a specific example of Sun's general policy to support strongly “royalty-free with reciprocity” licensing structures concerning the use of so-called “essential” or “necessary” claims for critical web infrastructure standards. These are claims under issued patents that would necessarily be infringed by the creation, use or distribution of any compliant implementation of the specification in question. This approach can take the form either of: (i) a commitment to make a royalty-free license available upon request, subject to the condition that the licensee grant a recipricol royalty-free license to all parties concerning its essential claims; or (ii) a “non-assertion” covenant, where parties promise not to assert any of their essential claims against the creation, use or distribution of a compliant implementation, provided that the beneficiaries of that promise similarly commit not to assert their essential claims. This latter form of the “RF + reciprocity” approach, especially, illustrates the underlying intention to create a mutually reinforcing set of “no first strike” promises concerning patents that could block every compliant implementation of the specification in question. By helping to move the possible aggressive use of patents to discretionary implementation decisions, and by reducing at least somewhat the uncertainty facing a prospective implementer looking to invest significant resources, this approach should contribute to faster and more widespread adoption of key infrastructure specifications for the web.