IDF Press Release

September 2005


International DOI Foundation adopts policy on patents to foster wide distribution and use of DOIs


The International DOI Foundation has adopted a Patent Policy covering the rights and obligations of DOI Registration Agencies, following completion of its Strategic Review and approval at the 2005 members' meeting. This policy is now binding on all current and future IDF Registration Agencies.

The Patent Policy, and accompanying DOI Core Specification, was approved by the Board of the International DOI Foundation as a formalization of past policies and practices. The DOI Core Specification, which is also at the heart of the proposed ISO TC46 SC9 specification, represents the current state of the DOI System and completion of the first phase of developments. The Patent Policy aims for a balance between an open, core system (the system developed collectively) and value-added services created by RAs.

The Core specification arises out of consolidation matters discussed in the development of the DOI Handbook and progress consistent with IDF's original aim; and is consistent with the process of ISO standardization (including the NISO DOI Syntax standard and ISO TC46SC9 system standardization) in establishing IDF as an open standard and system. Further it is consistent with the principles adopted from IDF's earliest days (e.g., the IDF White Paper "The Digital Object Identifier initiative: current position and view forward", August 1998) to:

  • Support the existing commitment that DOI be an open standard and system available to all who want to use it on equal terms (see "IDF re-affirms DOI as an open specification", October 2004).
  • Preserve and protect the collective investment in the DOI system and standard.
  • Encourage Registration Agencies to develop added-value services and features on top of the Core DOI System.

Specific goals of the patent policy are:

  • To form a generic policy for IDF and all its Registration Agencies (RAs);
  • To establish trust among RAs on patent issues;
  • To provide RAs and users of DOIs with certainty that they won't be infringing any patents when operating within the Core DOI System;
  • To enable and encourage RAs to add value, on top of the DOI Core specification;
  • To be simple, practical and easy to implement.

Key Concepts in the policy are:

  • References to the Core DOI Specification as a technical document;
  • "Core DOI Patent Rights" -- things enabled by the Core DOI Specification;
  • "Value Added DOI Patent Rights" -- things not enabled by the Core DOI Specification;
  • A notice requirement after an RA files any DOI-related patent application;
  • Royalty-free licensing of RA patents that cover items that are enabled by the Core DOI Specification;
  • Compulsory licensing, on commercially reasonable terms, of Value Added Patents (i.e., things not enabled by the Core DOI Specification);
  • Royalty-free licensing with respect to patents for which the RA fails to satisfy the notice requirement.

The IDF believes this offers the best way forward in encouraging the widest possible distribution and use of DOIs and the DOI System, ensuring both that the DOI remains an open standard and system available to all who wish to adopt it and that a core common infrastructure is maintained.

For further information about the policy, please contact n.paskin@doi.org.
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