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The relationship between open source software and standard setting

JRC Science for policy report
: Blind, Knut; Böhm, Mirko
: Thumm, Nikolaus


Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2019, 167 pp.
Europäische Kommission: Dokumente EUR, EUR 29867 EN; JRC Technical Reports, JRC117836
ISBN: 978-92-76-11593-9
Fraunhofer ISI ()
information technology; Innovation; intellectual property; open source software; technical standard

Standards and open source development are both processes widely adopted in the ICT industry to develop innovative technologies and drive their adoption in the market. Innovators and policy makers assume that a closer collaboration between standards and open source software development would be mutually beneficial. The interaction between the two is however not yet fully understood, especially with regard to how the intellectual property regimes applied by these organisations influence their ability and motivation to cooperate. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the interaction between standard development organisations (SDOs) and open source software (OSS) communities. The analysis is based on 20 case studies, a survey of stakeholders involved in SDOs and OSS communities, an expert workshop, and a comprehensive review of the literature. In the analysis, we differentiate according to the governance of SDOs and OSS communities, but also considering the involved stakeholders and subject matter. We discuss the preconditions, forms and impacts of collaboration, before we eventually focus on the complementarity of the different Intellectual Property Right (IPR) regimes. Finally, we derive policy recommendations addressing SDOs, OSS communities and policy makers.