Some people would compare the excitement of keeping up with standard setting to watching the grass grow. Faced with this type of attitude, how can a consortium or SDO get the word out to those who need to hear it? The first step is facing reality, and dealing with it.
Last year, the standard setting world took comfort when the FTC opened an investigation against Rambus relating to its conduct in the JEDEC standard setting process. The government also issued a warning to all not to “game” the standard setting process. Now, the court that handles all patent case appeals has overturned a lower court’s finding of fraud on the part of Rambus – because it found the JEDEC policy to be too vague. Now what happens?
Few things change as fast as the world of technology, so why should the standards world be any different? This editorial, and the stories that follow, highlight the way in which standard setting mirrors, keeps pace with, and in turn influences the evolution of technology.
Rambus sues Infineon for patent infringement; Infineon sues Rambus for abuse of the JEDEC standards process; The Federal Trade Commission opens an investigation against Rambus for standards process abuse, and considers industry-wide guidelines to regulate the standards process. Meanwhile, the members of scores of consortia are haggling over their intellectual property policies. Is this any way to run a consensus-based process? Of course not. Its time for the standards industry to agree on a Standard IPR Policy.
Whether using standards that are “open” can save money is an important question, but not as important as knowing whether they will be effective in protecting fundamental rights.