The modern standards development infrastructure is largely the product of the industrial age, and evolved to address the needs of such an economy. The advent of the Internet and the Web, and the continuing introduction of new ICT-based products and services in ever shorter product cycles, are exposing the fact that a system that retains strong roots in the 19th century is ill-suited to meet the demands of the 21st.
Standards are about sharing intellectual property rights (IPR), but only with the permission of those that own them. As a result, the risk and reality of IPR infringement provides one of the greatest challenges to the creation and implementation of standards. In this article, I summarize the history, issues, policies and process surrounding the management of IPR rights in SSOs.
Governments interact with standards as developers (when they draft laws), adopters (when they reference standards in regulations), influencers (when they join SSOs), and as end-users. To date, government involvement with ICT standards has been light. But as more and more essential services continue to redeploy across the Internet, the workplace becomes ever more IT dependent, and paper public records give way to exclusively digitized data, its time for that role to be re-evaluated.
Structuring a new organization to successfully – and safely – create and promote standards requires a knowledge of corporate, antitrust, trademark, tax, and intellectual property law. Doing it properly is essential to achieving success.
There’s no “how to” manual for creating a consortium, leaving those charged with setting one up to largely copy another’s structure. In this first of two articles, I review the key areas to be considered, and approaches to be taken, in forming a successful consortium to develop, promote and/or support standards.
Standard setting organizations, like their members, vary widely in their effectiveness in setting standards and their success in getting them adopted. Defining the goals to be pursued in a given standards area and finding the right SSO in which to achieve them merits care. This article provides a framework in which to define those goals, and guidelines to use in finding the right SSO for the job.
Since WW II a complex infrastructure of human rights declarations, treaties, commissions and courts has been created at the global and regional level to identify, secure, and at times intervene to protect, human rights of all types. But the task of creating reliable guarantees of human rights remains unfinished.
The ICT sector is particularly dependent on achieving interoperability through compliance with appropriate standards, and on maintaining end-user trust in compliance. But developing robust compliance tests is expensive, and the number of products to test is usually too small to permit third party certification companies to recover their development costs. The result has been the evolution of a range of situation-specific, variably rigorous alternatives to meet the need.
Ex ante disclosure of licensing terms is not a monolithic concept. In fact, ex ante benefits can be accomplished in a variety of different ways, some already in existence, some currently under discussion, and others that have not yet been actively considered at all. In order to gain the maximum benefits of incorporating ex ante disclosure into an SSOs process, the full range of options should be understood, and then adapted to fit the unique membership, goals, and risk tolerances of the organization in question.
Open standards must be fixed in order to be useful, but open source software is constantly evolving. And while open standards can prevent vendor lock-in, open source licensing terms guarantee vendors the ability to achieve that end. Is there a way to have the best of both worlds? The answer is yes, and the Free Standards Group is proving it.