[ros-users] ROS 2.0 Strategy review

Brian Gerkey gerkey at osrfoundation.org
Wed Sep 30 23:01:43 UTC 2015

Regarding patents (I'm not a laywer and I'm not making any promises here):

OMG specifications are governed by an common IP policy as described here:

DDS and RTPS are covered under the "Royalty Free on Limited Terms" mode
(Section 4.1.B), which means that all contributors to those specs (RTI,
PrismTech, and others) are obligated to grant broad licenses to any patents
they might hold that are required for the implementation or use of the spec.

On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 4:48 PM, Linas Vepstas via ros-users <
ros-users at lists.ros.org> wrote:

> There are at least half-a-dozen patents on DDS held by RTI, as listed
> here: http://patents.justia.com/assignee/real-time-innovations-inc
> Two "big ones" seems to be http://www.google.com/patents/US8150988
> http://www.google.com/patents/US8671135; one dates back to 2001-2002.
> A casual google search locates another, not from RTI:
> https://www.google.com/patents/US8874686
> -- Linas
> On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 6:27 PM, Jon Binney <jon.binney at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Aaron,
>> There was a fairly long discussion of the RTI license in particular on
>> the ROS-NG mailing list:
>> https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/ros-sig-ng-ros/license/ros-sig-ng-ros/j050JkfEtPk/jmZg5pYGdz8J
>> Brian does a good job of summing up the discussion in the last email in
>> the thread. There is also some discussion of the licenses of various DDS
>> implementations in http://design.ros2.org/articles/ros_on_dds.html . The
>> license section of that article could probably use an update since it was
>> written before the mailing list discussion. For example, it would be useful
>> to write down the current thinking on what types of licenses would be
>> acceptable for the default DDS implentation for ROS2.
>> In my reading of the DDS license, I interpreted "OMG shall not be
>> responsible for identifying patents for which a license may require use of
>> an invention covered by patent rights..." to be pretty reasonable
>> boilerplate. I can't imagine, for example, that willow garage would have
>> wanted to be held responsible by all ROS users if it had turned out that
>> some part of the TCPROS design was covered by some random company's patent
>> claim.
>> You have pointed out something I hadn't realized, though, which is that
>> it is probably worth documenting the patent and copyright implications of
>> the DDS/RTPS specifications themselves. Perhaps a section on that could be
>> added to http://design.ros2.org/articles/ros_on_dds.html ?
>> Jon
>> On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 3:21 PM, Aaron Schiffman via ros-users <
>> ros-users at lists.ros.org> wrote:
>>> Hi Linus,
>>> I don't recall specifics, nor do I know the dev path osrf choose. I do
>>> recall ROS 2 DDS implementation was going to be from rti.com, and rti
>>> was going to provide it to ROS free of charge.
>>> RTI says on their website they control 70% of the DDS market, and over a
>>> trillion dollars in critical systems rely on Context DDS, and the statement
>>> in the omg dds 1.2 spec states:
>>> The attention  of  adopters is directed to the  possibility  that
>>>  compliance  with or adoption  of OMG specifications may require  use  of
>>> an  invention covered  by patent  rights. OMG  shall  not  be  responsible
>>>  for identifying patents  for which a  license may  be required  by any
>>>  OMG specification,  or for conducting  legal  inquiries into  the  legal
>>> validity  or scope of  those patents  that are brought to  its attention.
>>> OMG  specifications are  prospective and advisory  only. Prospective users
>>>  are responsible  for  protecting themselves against liability for
>>> infringement  of patents.
>>> Search Google patents and you will find some patents submitted
>>> explicitly for DDS related techs, and I can only assume some of the patents
>>> not mentioning DDS cover facets of DDS.
>>> I can only speculate on patents at this point, but regardless rti owns
>>> their software. So they definitely own some DDS related ip.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Aaron
>>> Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
>>> <https://overview.mail.yahoo.com/mobile/?.src=Android>
>>> ------------------------------
>>> *From*:"Linas Vepstas" <linasvepstas at gmail.com>
>>> *Date*:Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 10:08 AM
>>> *Subject*:Re: [ros-users] ROS 2.0 Strategy review
>>> Hi Aaron,
>>> Can you clarify? Do you mean "IP of DDS", or IP of something else?  Are
>>> DDS algos patented?  There used to be talk of zero-mq-based ROS, but that
>>> seems to have disappeared from the table.
>>> My knee-jerk reaction is to be a bit suspicious of OMG-created
>>> technologies; they sound great at first, but are often over-wrought (e.g.
>>> corba).  I'd never even heard a whisper about DDS before yesterday; I'm
>>> nervous about adopting a technology that has not yet gained any acceptance
>>> at all in the open-source community.  So, for example, whatever one's
>>> opinion of zmq might be, positive or negative, its a "known thing"; many
>>> people have used it, there is developer experience, a track record.
>>> There's no such track record for DDS -- the proprietary world seems to be
>>> the primary consumer of the thing, and their experience with it is secret,
>>> and not shared. We don't actually know how well it works (although I admit
>>> it sounds really great, based on the wikipedia article).
>>> Anyway: please clarify: IP of what? And who "owns" that IP, who has
>>> rights to it?
>>> -- Linas.
>>> On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 11:03 AM, Aaron Schiffman via ros-users <
>>> ros-users at lists.ros.org> wrote:
>>>> This doesn't feel right sharing my some of my thoughts I held back
>>>> since Roscon 2014 about ROS 2.0, but here goes:
>>>> The ip ownership and patent of the underlying ROS 2.0 distributed udp
>>>> protocol are of concern as a third party protocol implementor. Yes, ROS.org
>>>> or OSRF may have explicit legal permission to use said protocol, but it is
>>>> not truly an open/free platform when the public is at the mercy of the IP
>>>> owner, unless the entire platform is contractually opened up and made free.
>>>> As a ROS protocol implementor Ive personally held off on implementing
>>>> ROS 2.0 protocols, while waiting to see how it pans out. I am still of the
>>>> belief that the UDPROS protocol with enhancements can do everything the new
>>>> protocol can do, but better. That really doesn't matter now though.
>>>> I appreciate that osrf took the focus from protocols and put their
>>>> limited resources to work on tools. In an r&d organization that would be
>>>> the path I would expect to be the most rewarding, except that I've grown to
>>>> appreciate think of ROS as a rock that the open robotics universe revolves
>>>> around. Like I think of Linux, as an open operating system, except that ROS
>>>> is more an open set of design frameworks like tcpip is a standard protocol
>>>> with many implementors.
>>>> Wish I could be there in Hamburg with you all! The birds of a feather
>>>> meetings, and the couple hours socializing with drinks were the most
>>>> influential on my development direction this past year. Watching roscon on
>>>> YouTube just will not be the same.
>>>> I am so stoked about this upcoming year in Robotics I can hardly
>>>> contain myself (probably a good reason for me to not be there in October:)
>>>> God bless Roscon 2015 in Hamburg!
>>>> Aaron
>>>> Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
>>>> <https://overview.mail.yahoo.com/mobile/?.src=Android>
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