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Unicode Consortium Patent Policy

The Unicode Patent Policy is based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Patent Policy as of March 11, 2008 as described in Section 3.1 of the ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards (January 2008 edition, corrected on March 11, 2008).

The only changes are to adapt the policy to refer to the Unicode Consortium, The Unicode Standard and Unicode Technical Reports and Standards. The section headings maintain the same numbering as the ANSI document to make comparison easier.

3.1 Unicode patent policy - Inclusion of Patents in Unicode Publications

There is no objection in principle to drafting a Standard [1] in terms that include the use of an essential patent claim (one whose use would be required for compliance with that standard) if it is considered that technical reasons justify this approach.

If the Unicode Consortium receives a notice that a proposed Standard or an approved Standard may require the use of such a patent claim, the procedures in this clause shall be followed.

3.1.1 Statement from patent holder

The Consortium shall receive from the identified party or patent holder (in a form approved by the Consortium) either:

  1. assurance in the form of a general disclaimer to the effect that such party does not hold and does not currently intend holding any essential patent claims; or
  2. assurance that a license to such essential patent claim(s) will be made available to applicants desiring to utilize the license for the purpose of implementing the Standard either:

    (i) under reasonable terms and conditions that are demonstrably free of any unfair discrimination; or

    (ii) without compensation and under reasonable terms and conditions that are demonstrably free of unfair discrimination.

3.1.2 Record of statement

A record of the patent holder’s statement shall be placed and retained in the files of the Consortium.

3.1.3 Notice

When the Consortium receives from a patent holder the assurance set forth in 3.1.1 b) above, the Standard shall include a note substantially as follows:

NOTE – The user’s attention is called to the possibility that compliance with this Standard may require use of an invention covered by patent rights.

By publication of this Standard, no position is taken with respect to the validity of any such claim(s) or of any patent rights in connection therewith. If a patent holder has filed a statement of willingness to grant a license under these rights on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions to applicants desiring to obtain such a license, then details may be obtained from the Unicode Consortium.

3.1.4 Responsibility for identifying patents

The Consortium is not responsible for identifying all patents for which a license may be required by a Standard or for conducting inquiries into the legal validity or scope of those patents that are brought to its attention.

[1] The term "Standard" in this context refers to a version of a Unicode Technical Report, a Unicode Technical Standard, or the Unicode Standard and its annexes.