MAY
25
2007

Definition of "Open Standard" in the European Union

Adam Gierek's report on Innovation (INI/2006/2274: "Putting knowledge into practice: A broad-based innovation strategy for Europe") has been adopted in plenary this Thursday 24 May with amendments.

The report is probably the largest document related to innovation since launching the "Lisbon Strategy" in 2002. One of the most interesting points for those who follow battle over standards and patents is a definition of open standard:

"[.. ] recalls the definition of open standards adopted by the Commission pursuant to that (i) the standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organisation, and its ongoing development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure available to all interested parties; (ii) the standard has been published and the standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge; (iii) the intellectual property - i.e. patents possibly present - of (parts of) the standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis"

Details: action.ffii.org.

By the way, the majority of the European People's Party (EPP) voted for an amendment to promote software patents in standards. When you vote in your country, please remember this (list of members/observers).

As a side note, I think since ECMA is an international, private (membership-based), not at all a non-for-profit, then its "standards" will not be considered as open in EU -- especially that it is not uncommon to believe that you can buy standarization services for your proprietary format what can even lead to putting it as fast track for ISO (MSOOXML case). Moreover if we talk about MSOOXML, it does not fulfill at least the following part of the definition: "development occurs on the basis of an open decision-making procedure".

(thanks to Wladyslaw Majewski for this news)