Open Source Software Research

Over the past few years standards development organisations (SDOs) have been assessing how open source software (OSS) could be used to complement standardisation activities.

Given that most SDOs have existing intellectual property rights (IPR) policies based on fair reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) access to essential patents, a key challenge is to explore how OSS licensing (often on royalty free terms) could be compatible with SDOs’ existing IPR policies. Another crucial issue is the competition law implication of involving OSS in standards development. Considering the diversity of views on the topic, 4iP Council created this page to provide some clarity on certain critical aspects based on academic research and articles the research council has published since 2018.


Downsides of Using Inadequate OSS Processes and Licenses within SDOs

The webinar discussed the competition risks that may arise when SDOs integrate specification development with open source software development, and in particular, when SDOs develop and adopt their own open source reference implementation of the SDO’s standard.

The presenters are:

  • Michele Herman, CEO of Early Stage Health-Tech Startup and Founder of JusTech Law, and,
  • Dr. Justus Baron, Senior Research Associate at the Center on Law, Business, and Economics, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

Open Source Software and Standards Development: Competition Law Implications

This webinar addresses the following:

  • The success of standards in driving innovation and competitiveness, and the potential for open source solutions to do the same
  • Potential co-existence for standards development and open source solutions while respecting stakeholders’ interests concerning intellectual property
  • Importance of governance principles to deter potential competitive harm that will deter innovation
  • EU and US competition laws' role in addressing potential competitive distortions