Posts Tagged ‘transparency’

European Standards in Business-Related Services

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

In its Communication on “Europe 2020: a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” the European Commission underlines that a strong, deep and extended Single Market is vital for growth and job creation. To answer the challenges set to achieve the Europe 2020 goals, a Single Market with well functioning open markets and empowered consumers is essential.

With the same view, CEN and CENELEC believe that standardization has a major role to play in assisting to reach a well functioning Single Market. In the past European standardization has already contributed in essential ways to remove technical barriers for businesses, to promote the spread of new technologies and to foster innovation.

CEN and CENELEC will continue supporting the consolidation of the European single market as detailed through the 50 proposals of the Single Market Act. Our standards are adopted identically by the 31 member countries of CEN and CENELEC, withdrawing national conflicting standards and therefore ensuring one standard for Europe.
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Summary: Reforming EU Standardization

Friday, October 15th, 2010

In October, Talkstandards.com hosted an open forum focused towards issues related to interoperability within European standardization and framed against the backdrop of the current EU activities. In addition to a series of expert keynote contributions (summarized below – please follow the links to access the articles in full) two exclusive interviews were conducted. The event can be found her: www.talkstandards.com/reforming-eu-standardization.


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Questions for Event: “Reforming EU Standardization”

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

All forum discussion will take place on this page!

This event (Thurs October 14th –  3pm GMT / 8am Pacific / 11am Eastern / 5pm CET / 11pm Beijing) is set to discuss mobile payment and transfer services.


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Interview with Elena Santiago, CEN-CENELEC Director General

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

This exclusive interview with Mrs Elena Santiago, CEN-CENELEC Director General, was conducted for Talkstandards.com via email during October 2010 in relation to the Open Forum “Reforming EU Standardization“.


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Interview with Edvard Kožušník, Rapporteur of the IMCO Committee

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

This exclusive interview with Mr Edvard Kožušník, Rapporteur of the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee, was conducted for Talkstandards.com via email during July 2010 in relation to the Open Forum on Transparency in EU Standardization.

The IMCO recently hosted a public hearing on the Future of European Standardisation which Mr Kožušník co-chaired. The outline of the hearing, including the presentations made can be found here.

Join the Forum discussion here: www.talkstandards.com/questions-for-event-reforming-eu-standardization/


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Summary of Open Forum: Standards and OSS

Friday, August 27th, 2010

During August, Talkstandards.com hosted an open forum focused towards a number of issues related to the tension between traditional software development business models, FRAND and RAND IPR licensing requirements and the open source community. The event was structured such that two featured articles were posted by Talkstandards regular Stacy Baird (Managing Director of Citrus Co.) and James Bryce Clark (from OASIS). In response to these featured articles, a series of expert contributors were invited to post introductory remarks, upon which the event discussion took place. These articles are summarized below. Please follow the links to access the articles in full.


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An Open Source Approach to Policymaking?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Proponents of open source software are a creative bunch. Their flexible, open and collaborative way of working has certainly led to innovation not only in software development but also in the way that we now view many aspects of public policy.

On the positive side, the understanding of open source principles and ways of working has motivated us all to be more transparent, more open to creative partnerships and to place a premium on innovation as a public good.
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Open Standards and Open source: Maturity and beyond

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Both open standards and open source are related but evolving. Given recent events, we could even say that Open source is maturing. Today, rather than considering the dichotomy between open source and proprietary software; we are now evaluating specific open source licenses, how they work with various business goals and how they will play out in the future.

In many ways, our forum topic this month addresses that issue. Stacy says: The answer lies in licenses: not the patent licenses, but certain open source software licenses. James says: Demands for royalties are becoming rarer, in our own domain.
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Summary of Open Forum: Transparency in EU Standardization

Friday, July 16th, 2010

In July, Talkstandards.com hosted an open forum which covered current issues related to Transparency in EU Standardization. A number of expert contributors posted a series of articles which covered a broad range of issues related to the general theme of the event. These articles are summarized below. Please follow the links to access the articles in full.


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The Pros and Cons of Transparency

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Transparency in standardization has important advantages. It fosters accountability in decision-making, through external and internal review. It also helps companies, including small and medium enterprises, to make informed decisions.

However, transparency can also have undesirable consequences; leading to collusion, grid-locks and strategic commitments. Regulators should accordingly think twice, and be extremely careful about the details, before mandating or regulating transparency in the standard-setting context.

Decentralized market economies tend to be transparent in very fundamental respects. In relation to consumable products, competing firms rely on dissemination of information through pricing, advertising and other means to maximize demand. With respect to processes, on the other hand, firms typically have incentives to be transparent to reduce transaction costs. Audits, financial reports, public disclosures to capital markets serve to reduce capital costs. Furthermore, external review of internal processes can reduce the cost of arms length contracting and thus facilitate vertical specialization. Transparency is accordingly an equilibrium phenomenon in market economies. It is however key that it is a market response to demand and relies on active choices by customers and users and, therefore, on competition between suppliers.

The same fundamentals are true also for standard-setting; perhaps even more so as long as standardization is market-driven. SSOs have a very basic interest in being transparent about standards they have developed. Success for a standard setting organization is directly related to use and deployment of standards that it develops. The very result of the process is disclosure through publication. Firms that contribute with know-how, including IPRs, do so to maximize the use of its knowledge. It is in the interest of IP-holders to maximize dissemination as long as reasonable compensation is guaranteed and participation is voluntary.

The transparency of standard setting organizations, including informal fora and consortia, varies. As for markets in general, information about the products tend to be disseminated quickly and widely. The largest and most important organizations also tend to be very transparent about processes in order to grow in membership.

The question is then, why is transparency not maximized by markets. And, more importantly, should it be. The key to these questions is that transparency often enhances efficiency; but not always. It is accordingly advisable not to generalize and to be very careful about the details.

Transparent pricing (including IPR licensing terms). While transparent pricing can facilitate choices and improve predictability, it may also facilitate commitment and collusion. Examples are numerous. For instance, experience from US auctions shows that too transparent bidding allows producers to split markets. The Danish government learned several years ago that publishing prices can raise, rather than lower, prices. Airlines used pre-publication of fares to coordinate on higher prices on certain city-pairs. It is accordingly critical to keep scope for secret price cuts, price differentiation and rebates to maintain healthy competition.

Transparent negotiations (including committee work). While transparent negotiations can improve access e.g. for small and medium enterprises, it may also result in gridlocks and negotiation failure. Excessive transparency may reduce the prospects for compromises as participants have to publically commit to certain positions before a decision can be reached. It may also foster undesirable signaling and strategic commitments. One should accordingly recognize the value of strategic flexibility. The benefits of disclosing information from internal processes and discussions can therefore vary across organizations.

Transparent decision-making (including public votes). Disclosure of votes has the advantage that firms have to be public about how they influence a particular decision. However, it also has numerous disadvantages. There are fundamental reasons why most democracies use secret ballots. With secret voting it is impossible to verify, and to reward or punish, a particular voter. There are also fundamental motives for why some courts and governments do not disclose the votes. The idea is that the governing body is a collective. The strength of a decision should not depend on the vote. The outcome should be judged on its merits.

Transparent strategy (including full disclosure of IPR). There are tremendous values at stake as collective decisions are taken. This creates incentives for rent-seeking and manipulation. Transparency can support these interests by fostering truthful behavior. It is accordingly desirable that a holder of an (unknown) patent is prohibited from manipulating a standard in its own interest just to create a lock-in that can subsequently be exploited in IPR licensing by that firm. However, the issue becomes more difficult with respect to passive behavior. Standard development is often done by technical experts from large firms. Requiring that these experts always fully understand and disclose the strategy, interests and IPRs of their employer is neither feasible nor desirable.

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