Friday, June 24, 2011

Patents and standards-setting organizations

For another view on how "software" patents affect us, I'd like you to read Xiph's comments to the FTC Patent Standards Workshop.
However, patents essential to the implementation of a standard gain their value from network effects. The innovation often plays no role. This gives the holder of such a patent the ability to hinder or eliminate entire markets which would compete with their own offerings.

Participants in Standards Setting Organizations (SSOs) cannot be certain that patent claims will not arise after the standard has been set. This handicaps the standards setting process, stifling the adoption of innovative technologies. The problem is particularly acute for royalty-free standards, where the incentives for patent holders to cooperate are lower and the costs of failure are higher.

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