Intellectual Property Policy

 

The following is taken from ARTICLE VI of the Conexxus Operating Procedures and Guidelines.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY

Section 6.1 General Policy

Conexxus will develop and fund various Work Groups, Subcommittees, and Technical Committees.  The goals of the Conexxus efforts are to research, develop, and maintain standards that enable Conexxus Members to become more efficient, to reduce costs, and to increase profitability.  Work on such Conexxus Standards includes development of intellectual property.  Because of the serious implications such intellectual property holds for the standards process, Conexxus has adopted a Policy respecting how the Organization and its Members, as well as any non-Members who participate in standards development activities (collectively "Participants"), will treat any intellectual property assets.  This Policy governs the development of any Draft Conexxus Standard or adoption of a Final Standard, including the protection and administration of intellectual property that may be associated with a Conexxus Standard after it has been adopted.

Section 6.2 Compliance and Openness

Section 6.2.1 The Conexxus Policy is consistent with the Standards Development procedures adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), including the ANSI Patent Policy as approved periodically by the ANSI Board of Directors (the "ANSI Procedures"), which is incorporated herein.  This Policy conforms in all material respects to the ANSI Procedures in order to ensure that nondiscriminatory licenses for free or reasonable royalties are available if patented or patentable elements are included within Conexxus Standards.

Section 6.2.2 Meetings of the Conexxus Technical Committees, Subcommittees, and Working Groups are open to all parties that have a direct or material interest in Conexxus Standards, including all industry retailers and vendors, subject to the voting rights for each class of membership (Participants).  A summary of this Intellectual Property Policy will be presented at the beginning of each Conexxus Standards meeting in order to ensure that all Participants are aware of its requirements and effects.  Conexxus shall provide timely and adequate notice of all meetings and meeting agendas will be published prior to each meeting.  Detailed minutes of each meeting are promptly published for Participants.

Section 6.3 Duty to Disclose Intellectual Property

Section 6.3.1 Because Participants will rely upon Conexxus Standards, Conexxus has adopted a duty to disclose intellectual property rights in any work undertaken by the Technical Committees, Subcommittees, or Working Groups.  It is imperative that every Participant in the standards process knows what potential patents or copyrights might affect proposed Standards as they are being discussed, debated and modified.  Early disclosure of the patented/copyrighted technology enhances the efficiency of the process used to develop and finalize a Conexxus Standard, giving Conexxus and other Participants the greatest opportunity to evaluate the propriety of standardizing any such technology while allowing a patent holder ample time to determine how it wants to treat standardizing the IP.   The failure to disclose claimed intellectual property rights may induce other Participants to act to their detriment and seriously undermines the utility of Conexxus Standards.

Section 6.3.2

(A).  A Participant is obligated to disclose any patents that it owns or any patent applications that it files in any form with the USPTO and to disclose the existence of any copyrights that it owns, to the extent claims in the patent are in conflict with a Draft Standard (also referred to as “essential elements” of the patent in the ANSI procedures or “necessary IP” where it is not possible to use or practice the standard without infringing the patent claim or copyright) or are necessary to use or implement a proposed Draft Standard when it is adopted as a Final Conexxus Standard ("Exclusive IP Rights") (i.e., it is not possible to use or practice the standard without infringing the patent claim).   In addition, a Participant is encouraged to disclose any patents, patent applications, or copyrights owned by any third party of which it becomes aware during the standards development process.  Disclosure of Exclusive IP Rights should be made as soon as a Participant realizes or becomes aware that its Exclusive IP Rights are or may be in conflict with the language in a Draft Standard, or a subsequent version thereof, and is an ongoing responsibility during the development of a Final Conexxus Standard, although a Participant shall have a reasonable period of time to disclose not to exceed forty-five (45) days, following any new or revised language, to review it, conduct any necessary patent searches, and prepare and make a required disclosure.  Once the Disclosure Notice is received, Conexxus will disclose the information to the Working Group, Subcommittee, or Technical Committee involved within five (5) business days. 

(B)  For a New Work Item as approved in Article IV, Conexxus will call for disclosure of intellectual property from the Membership as related to the proposed work and shall grant Participants a reasonable period of time not to exceed forty-five (45) days to respond to a call for disclosure of intellectual property.  Conexxus will gather any submissions and disclose the information to the Working Group, Subcommittee, or Technical Committee involved within fifteen (15) business days after the initial meeting.

(C).  The written notification by a Participant to Conexxus (“Disclosure Notice”), using the approved Conexxus form, should, at a minimum, include identification of the specific element(s) of the Exclusive IP Rights that it considers to be in conflict with the proposed standard and information to identify how the Exclusive IP Rights would interfere with or hinder adoption of the proposed standard; however, in the case of a pending filed patent applications the Participant must only identify with reasonable particularity the specific claims or elements it believes would be essential to use or implement the proposed Draft Standard.

Section 6.3.3

(A)  Participant claiming Exclusive IP Rights in a Disclosure Notice that may affect the use or implementation of the proposed Draft Standards and who agrees the Exclusive IP may be incorporated, must also agree to give assurances to Conexxus either to disclaim such Exclusive IP Rights or to provide licenses to all potential users of the Final Standard with no fee or on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions, including a commitment that its assurances are binding on any transfer such Exclusive IP Rights, and that the transferee will similarly include appropriate provisions in the event of future transfers with the goal of binding each successor-in-interest.  Alternatively, a Participant retains the right to inform Conexxus that its Exclusive IP Rights will not be made available for use in the Draft Standard.

(B)  In the event a Participant fails to notify Conexxus of Exclusive IP Rights in accordance with Section 6.3.2, and a Standard is adopted that is in conflict with later-discovered Exclusive IP Rights, the Participant agrees that it shall: (1) disclaim the Exclusive IP Rights with respect to its inclusion in the Final Conexxus Standard; and (2) not seek to enforce the non-disclosed conflicting Exclusive IP Rights against any implementer of the Final Conexxus Standard. 

(C)  If the Conexxus Executive Director determines that a Participant has violated the provisions of the IP Policy, the Executive Director shall be entitled to seek approval of the Board of Directors to immediately suspend the Participant’s right to participate in the affected Technical Committee, Subcommittee, or Working Group, pending the resolution of a formal suspension or expulsion notice to the Member under the Bylaws (Section 3.4(b)).

Section 6.4 Ownership of Rights and License

Section 6.4.1 The value of the standards process lies in the Final Standards developed and adopted by Conexxus. That value is diminished, or lost altogether, if third parties are permitted to adopt freely the Standards, or claim compliance with the Standards. In order to protect and preserve the Standards, Conexxus agrees to act as a steward of the final Standards. By doing so, Conexxus can obtain copyrights to protect the dissemination of the Standards and any derivative works, and to develop certification programs based on the Standards. Conexxus shall use this copyright protection to secure control over proposed and final Standards and related documents for purposes of their sales and use, thereby assuring that only one interpretation of the Standards is accepted for the petroleum, convenience, and related industries. By participating in the Conexxus Technical Committees, Subcommittees, and Working Groups, Members agree that Conexxus shall retain all right, title and interest in and to the Standards adopted by Conexxus and that participants agree to assign to Conexxus all right, title and interest in and to the Standards adopted by Conexxus, including all working papers, electronic files and correspondence related thereto. Members who have agreed to the terms of this Policy shall be deemed to receive a license from Conexxus to use and adopt the Standard, but may not claim compliance with such Standard.

Section 6.4.2 In order to facilitate this copyright policy, the Organization shall make available Conexxus Standards and related documents to Members and non-members on different bases. All copyright notices on all Conexxus standards-related documentation shall include at least the following notice, along with any other specific notices required for specific circumstances:

“Copyright © CONEXXUS, INC. (Date). All Rights Reserved.”

Section 6.4.3 In addition to the general notice contained in Subsection 6.4.2, documents for public distribution without charge, including those being posted to the non-member section of the website, shall contain language noting that these documents do not contain explanatory implementation documentation or other proprietary information, and may be shared with anyone without restriction or permission from Conexxus, except that any derivative work for publication, including documents quoting, citing, or based upon a Conexxus Standard, is expressly prohibited, unless the user obtains prior, written permission from Conexxus. All copyright notices for public standards and related documents shall include the following notice:

“This document may be furnished to others, along with derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation that cite or refer to the standard, specification, protocol or guideline, in whole or in part. All other uses must be pre-approved in writing by Conexxus. Moreover, this document may not be modified in any way, including removal of the copyright notice or references to Conexxus. Translations of this document into languages other than English shall continue to reflect the Conexxus copyright notice.

The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be revoked by Conexxus, Inc.  or its successors or assigns, except in the circumstance where an entity, who is no longer a member in good standing but who rightfully obtained Conexxus Standards as a former member, is acquired by a non-member entity.  In such circumstances, Conexxus may revoke the grant of limited permissions or require the acquiring entity to establish rightful access to Conexxus Standards through membership.”

Section 6.4.4 In addition to the general notice contained in Subsection 6.4.2, documents being sold to non-Members shall contain language noting that these documents may be shared only on a limited basis, that any inconsistent use requires written permission from Conexxus in advance of such use, and that any derivative work for publication, including documents quoting, citing, or based upon a Conexxus Standard, is expressly prohibited, unless the user obtains prior, written permission from Conexxus. All copyright notices for non-member standards and related documents shall include the following notice:

“This document may be copied or used exclusively for the benefit of the purchaser for purposes consistent with adoption of the Conexxus Standards; however, any inconsistent uses must be pre-approved in writing by Conexxus, Inc.  . As such, this document may not be furnished to non-members of Conexxus, except for the limited sharing with a direct contractor of purchaser whose responsibility is to implement the standard for purchaser; however any derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may not cite or refer to the standard, specification, protocol or guideline, in whole or in part, without such permission. Moreover, this document may not be modified in any way, including removal of the copyright notice or references to Conexxus. Translations of this document into languages other than English shall continue to reflect the Conexxus copyright notice.

The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be revoked by Conexxus, Inc.  or its successors or assigns, except in the circumstance where an entity, who is no longer a member in good standing but who rightfully obtained Conexxus Standards as a former member, is acquired by a non-member entity.  In such circumstances, Conexxus may revoke the grant of limited permissions or require the acquiring entity to establish rightful access to Conexxus Standards through membership.”

Section 6.4.5 Documents available to Members shall be made available only to Members and shall contain language noting that these documents contain explanatory implementation documentation or other proprietary information and that Conexxus Members should not share them.  Any derivative work for publication, including documents quoting, citing, or based upon a Conexxus Standard, is allowed, but the Member is restricted to sharing such derivative works only with other Conexxus Members who possess document rights or with direct contractors who are responsible for implementing the standard for the Member.  Conexxus Members also are expected to inform any non-member with which it deals that, in order to gain access to the explanatory or implementation Conexxus Standard or related materials, the non­member must purchase the underlying Standard or other proprietary material, or join the Organization. All notices for member standards and related documents shall include the following notice:

“Conexxus members may use this document for purposes consistent with the adoption of the Conexxus Standard; however, Conexxus must pre-approve any inconsistent uses in writing.

Conexxus recognizes that a Member may wish to create a derivative work that comments on, or otherwise explains or assists in implementation, including citing or referring to the standard, specification, protocol, schema, or guideline, in whole or in part.  The Member may do so, but may share such derivative work ONLY with another Conexxus Member who possesses appropriate document rights (i.e., Gold or Silver Members) or with a direct contractor who is responsible for implementing the standard for the Member.  In so doing, a Conexxus Member should require its development partners to download Conexxus documents and schemas directly from the Conexxus website.  A Conexxus Member may not furnish this document in any form, along with any derivative works, to non-members of Conexxus or to Conexxus Members who do not possess document rights (i.e., Bronze Members) or who are not direct contractors of the Member.  A Member may demonstrate its Conexxus membership at a level that includes document rights by presenting an unexpired digitally signed Conexxus membership certificate.

This document may not be modified in any way, including removal of the copyright notice or references to Conexxus. However, a Member has the right to make draft changes to schema for trial use before submission to Conexxus for consideration to be included in the existing standard.    Translations of this document into languages other than English shall continue to reflect the Conexxus copyright notice.

The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be revoked by Conexxus, Inc.  or its successors or assigns, except in the circumstance where an entity, who is no longer a member in good standing but who rightfully obtained Conexxus Standards as a former member, is acquired by a non-member entity.  In such circumstances, Conexxus may revoke the grant of limited permissions or require the acquiring entity to establish rightful access to Conexxus Standards through membership.”