Apparently, it must mean something, because I find it being referenced in (supposedly serious) discussions about .NET licensing.
The acronym literally translates as “Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory”. So far so good. Except I don’t have a clue what it means. What does “reasonable” mean when applied to a patent licensing policy? Well, according to my own interpretation of this word, a licensing policy is reasonable when it prevents the patent from being used to impose a tax on any users of any program. But this is just my point of view on what is reasonable. Can you expect patent holders to agree with your point of view on what “reasonable” means when interpreting their own promises?
Obviously, only if you trust them, which beats the point of them issuing promises in the first place. This is why some of us reject the “RAND” term. It’s essentially deceitful, because it implies there’s an agreement on what is reasonable and what isn’t. The proposed alternative, UFO (for “uniform fee only”) has a clear meaning, and it usually corresponds with what patent lawyers mean when they say their policy is “reasonable” (mind you, I don’t consider uniform taxation reasonable at all).
So whenever you read about Microsoft promising a license under “reasonable” terms to anyone who asks for it, as if being reasonable had some sort of standard meaning, don’t fall for the trap. Stop for a while, check what they’re actually delivering (or whether they’re delivering anything at all) and consider what “reasonable” means to you.