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James A. Wilson, AgGateway,


Status of This Document

This is the (red star)  version of the AgGateway Patent Policy.

This document has been approved by the AgGateway Board of Directors effective (red star) and has been endorsed by the AgGateway President as the AgGateway Patent Policy. It is a stable document and may be used as reference material or cited as a normative reference from another document. AgGateway's role in making this policy is to provide a stable policy for handling patent claims in the context of AgGateway Digital Resources and to enhance the interoperability of agriculture-related systems. This policy was produced by the AgGateway staff.

Please report errors in this document to The list of known errors is public.The English version of this policy is the only normative version.this document to The list of known errors is public.

The English version of this policy is the only normative version.

Changes from Previous Version

Summary of Major Changes

  1. Updated references to roles (e.g., Standards Director changed to COO or CTO).

  2. Updated reference to organizational unit (e.g., PMC and DRC).

Detailed Changes


Table of Contents

Table of Contents
exclude\d\d\d\d-\d\d-\d\d|Table of Contents



1. Overview

This patent policy describes:

  1. licensing goals for AgGateway Digital Resources

  2. licensing obligations that Working Group participants will undertake as a condition of Working Group [PROCESS, section 2] participation, along with means of excluding specific patents from those obligations

  3. the definition of an AgGateway Royalty-Free license

  4. disclosure rules for AgGateway Members

  5. an exception-handling process for situations in which the Royalty-Free status of a specification comes under question

  6. definition of Essential Claims (defined in Section 8 herein) 

All numbered sections of this document (1-8), as well as hyperlinks to material within and outside of this document, are normative. All sections of The AgGateway Digital Resource-Development Process (“PROCESS”) referenced in this patent policy are incorporated into this policy.


Essential Claims may be excluded from the AgGateway RF licensing requirements by a participant who seeks to remain in the Working Group only if that participant indicates no later than 10 days after the Working Group delivers any Proposed New Digital Resource to the Standards and Guidelines Committee Digital Resource Center [PROCESS, sections 3 and 4] its refusal to license Essential Claims and specifically discloses the Essential Claims that will not be licensed on AgGateway RF. A participant who excludes Essential Claims may continue to participate in the Working Group.


A participant may resign from the Working Group no later than 10 days after the Working Group delivers any Proposed New Digital Resource to the Standards and Guidelines Committee Digital Resource Center [PROCESS, sections 3 and 4] and be excused from all licensing commitments arising out of Working Group participation.

If a participant leaves the Working Group later than 10 days after the Working Group delivers any Proposed New Digital Resource to the Standards and Guidelines Committee Digital Resource Center [PROCESS, sections 3 and 4], that participant is only bound to license Essential Claims based on subject matter contained in the Proposed New Digital Resource delivered to the Standards and Guidelines Committee Digital Resource Center before the participant resigned from the Working Group. In addition, departing participants have 30 days after their actual resignation to exclude Essential Claims made essential by documents not referenced in the Call for Exclusion (see section 4.5) if:

  1. such claims are essential to subject matter that is contained in the latest New Proposed Digital Resource delivered to the

    Standards and Guidelines Committee before

    Digital Resource Center before the participant resigns, and

  2. such subject matter is not present or apparent in the latest New Proposed Digital Resource delivered to the

    Standards and Guidelines Committee

    Digital Resource Center.

The participant follows the same procedures specified in this section 4 for excluding claims in issued patents, published applications, and unpublished applications. Participants resigning from a Working Group are still subject to all disclosure obligations described in section 6.


Any exclusion of an Essential Claim in an unpublished application must provide either:

  1. the text of the filed application; or

  2. identification of the specific part(s) of the specification whose implementation makes the excluded claim essential.

If option 2 is chosen, the effect of the exclusion will be limited to the identified part(s) of the specification.


With respect to a Digital Resource developed under this policy, an AgGateway Royalty-Free license shall mean a non-assignable, non-sublicensable license to make, have made, use, sell, have sold, offer to sell, import, and distribute and dispose of implementations of the Digital Resource that:

  1. shall be available to all, worldwide, whether or not they are AgGateway Members;

  2. shall extend to all Essential Claims owned or controlled by the licensor;

  3. may be limited to implementations of the Digital Resource, and to what is required by the Digital Resource;

  4. may be conditioned on a grant of a reciprocal RF license (as defined in this policy) to all Essential Claims owned or controlled by the licensee. A reciprocal license may be required to be available to all, and a reciprocal license may itself be conditioned on a further reciprocal license from all.

  5. may not be conditioned on payment of royalties, fees or other consideration;

  6. may be suspended with respect to any licensee when licensor is sued by licensee for infringement of claims essential to implement any AgGateway Digital Resource;

  7. may not impose any further conditions or restrictions on the use of any technology, intellectual property rights, or other restrictions on behavior of the licensee, but may include reasonable, customary terms relating to operation or maintenance of the license relationship such as the following: choice of law and dispute resolution;

  8. shall not be considered accepted by an implementer who manifests an intent not to accept the terms of the AgGateway Royalty-Free license as offered by the licensor.

    License term:

  9. The RF license conforming to the requirements in this policy shall be made available by the licensor as long as the Digital Resource is in effect. The term of such license shall be for the life of the patents in question, subject to the limitations of Section 5(10) herein.

  10. If the Digital Resource is rescinded by AgGateway, then no new licenses need be granted but any licenses granted before the Digital Resource was rescinded shall remain in effect.

All Working Group participants are encouraged to provide a contact from which licensing information can be obtained and other relevant licensing information. Any such information will be made publicly available along with the patent disclosures for the Working Group in question.


Disclosure is required when both of the following are true:

  1. an individual in a Member organization receives a disclosure request as described in section 6.3; and

  2. that individual has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) with respect to the specification for which disclosure is requested.

Anyone in a Member organization who receives a disclosure request and who has such knowledge must inform their Primary Contact [632914113AgGateway Patent Policy#POLICIES, section 3.5]. Where disclosure is required, the Primary Contact will do so.


Disclosure statements must include:

  1. the patent number, but need not mention specific claims

  2. the Working Group and/or Digital Resource to which it applies

6.5. Disclosure of Laid-Open or Published Applications

In the case of laid-open or published applications, the Member's good faith disclosure obligation extends to unpublished amended and/or added claims that have been allowed by relevant legal authorities and that the Member believes to be Essential Claims. To satisfy the disclosure obligation for such claims, the Member shall either:

  1. disclose such claims, or

  2. identify those portions of the AgGateway specification likely to be covered by such claims.

6.6. Disclosure of Pending, Unpublished Applications


7.3. PAG Composition

The PAG is composed of:

  • Chairman of the AgGateway Board of Directors, who may delegate the assignment to the Vice Chairman

  • The AgGateway President

  • The AgGateway Chief Technology Officer

  • The AgGateway

    Standards Director

    Chief Operating Officer

  • AgGateway counsel

  • Working Group Chair, ex officio

  • Others as designated by the AgGateway President

AgGateway Member participants in the PAG should be authorized to represent their organization's views on patent licensing issues. Any participant in the PAG may also be represented by legal counsel, though this is not required. Invited experts are not entitled to participate in the PAG, though the PAG may choose to invite any qualified experts who would be able to assist the PAG in its determinations.


The PAG will be convened by the AgGateway Standards DirectorChief Technology Officer, based on a PAG charter developed by the AgGateway Standards DirectorChief Technology Officer, AgGateway counsel, and the Working Group Chair. The timing for convening the PAG is at the discretion of the AgGateway President, based on consultation with the Standards DirectorChief Technology Officer. In some cases, convening a PAG before a specific patent disclosure is made may be useful. In other cases, it may be that the PAG can better resolve the licensing problems at another point in the Digital Resource's development.


The PAG charter should include:

  • clear goals for the PAG, especially a statement of the question(s) the PAG is to answer.

  • duration.

  • confidentiality status, which must follow the underlying Working Group (Member only, public, etc.).

The PAG charter must specify deadlines for completion of individual work items it takes on. The PAG, once convened, may propose changes to its charter as appropriate, to be accepted based on consensus of the PAG participants. The Standards Director Chief Technology Officer will serve as PAG Chair. A single PAG may exist for the duration of the Working Group with which it is associated if needed.


After appropriate consultation, the PAG may conclude:

  1. The initial concern has been resolved, enabling the Working Group to continue.

  2. The Working Group should be instructed to consider designing around the identified claims.

  3. The Team should seek further information and evaluation, including and not limited to evaluation of the patents in question or the terms under which AgGateway RF licensing requirements may be met.

  4. The Working Group should be terminated.

  5. The Digital Resource (if it has already been published) should be rescinded.

  6. Alternative licensing terms should be considered. The procedure in section 7.5.3 must be followed.

7.5.2. PAG Outcome

Outcomes 4, 5 or 6 require a Board review and AgGateway President's decision. In any case, the PAG must state its Proposal and reasons in a public AgGateway document.


After having made every effort to resolve the conflict through options 1, 2, and 3 under 7.5.1, the PAG, by consensus, may propose that specifically identified patented technology be included in the Digital Resource even though such claims are not available according to the AgGateway RF licensing requirements of this policy. In such case, the PAG Proposal must explain:

  • why the chartered goals of the Working Group cannot be met without inclusion of the identified technology;

  • how the proposed licensing terms will be consistent with widespread adoption.

Further, such PAG Proposal must include:

  • a complete list of claims and licensing terms of the proposed alternative arrangements; and,

  • a proposed charter for the Working Group, unless the Digital Resource has been published and no new work is required.

If the AgGateway President determines that the PAG Proposal is the best alternative consistent with the AgGateway mission, the interests of the agriculture-related community, and is clearly justified despite the expressed preference of the AgGateway Membership for RF licensing, then the Proposal shall be circulated for public comment and Board of Directors review. The AgGateway President may also circulate the Proposal for Board of Directors review without such endorsement. Should the PAG Proposal be rejected, then either sub-paragraph 4 or 5 of section 7.5.3 will apply as appropriate, without further action of the Board of Directors. Members of the Working Group who are bound to RF terms are not released from their obligations by virtue of the PAG Proposal alone. As with any newly chartered Working Group, new commitments must be made, along with possible exclusions. In order to expedite the process, the PAG Proposal should consider whether additional claims would be excluded under the new charter and include such information in the PAG Proposal.


The following are expressly excluded from and shall not be deemed to constitute Essential Claims:

  1. any claims other than as set forth above even if contained in the same patent as Essential Claims; and

  2. claims which would be infringed only by:

    • portions of an implementation that are not specified in the normative portions of the Digital Resource, or

    • enabling technologies that may be necessary to make or use any product or portion thereof that complies with the Digital Resource and are not themselves expressly set forth in the Digital Resource (e.g., semiconductor manufacturing technology, compiler technology, object-oriented technology, basic operating system technology, and the like); or

    • the implementation of technology developed elsewhere and merely incorporated by reference in the body of the Digital Resource.

  3. design patents and design registrations.

8.3. Definition of Normative, Optional and Informative

For purposes of this definition, the normative portions of the Digital Resource shall be deemed to include only architectural and interoperability requirements. Optional features in the RFC 2119 [632914113AgGateway Patent Policy#KEYWORDS] sense are considered normative unless they are specifically identified as informative. Implementation examples or any other material that merely illustrate the requirements of the Digital Resource are informative, rather than normative.

Appendix A: Definitions

  • Digital Resource: Refers to any digital content developed with the intent of assisting companies with implementing electronic connectivity between systems and devices within their own company, and between their company and other companies. Digital Resource includes standards, guidelines, communications tools, project-management tools, implementation tools, and requirements or proposals passed on to a Collaborating Digital Resources Body.



Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels, S. Bradner. The Internet Society, March 1997. This RFC is available by FTP at


AgGateway Digital Resources-Development Process, J. Wilson, Editor. AgGateway,  . The latest version of this document is


BYLAWS OF AgGateway, INC., R. Conner, Editor. AgGateway, . The latest version of this document can be downloaded in PDF form at


AgGateway (AgGateway) Policies & Procedures, R. Conner, Editor. AgGateway . The latest version of this document can be downloaded in PDF form at


This document is derived from the W3C Patent Policy available at Various license requirements apply, which are met by including the following statement, with associated links, from the W3C: 

W3C liabilitytrademarkdocument use and software licensing rules apply.