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War of the words: intellectual property laws and standardization

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1 Author(s)
G. G. Davis ; Davis & Schroeder, Monterey, CA, USA

It is noted that, while there are strong economic forces that drive the computer industry to develop and adopt common standards, both formal and informal, there is an inherent conflict between the intellectual property laws and the concepts of standards and compatibility. Intellectual property laws are intended to create temporary monopolies and to provide economic incentives to the owners of these monopolies, while exclusive ownership of standards is inconsistent with the very idea of a common standard. It is argued that court decisions relating to these issues and the scope of copyright, in particular, are confusing and technically illiterate in many cases, since the adversarial nature of the legal system fails to present the broader industry view of the need for standards and compatibility. It is concluded that, without some concerted industry action, the results of these cases may present significant problems to the industry and may encourage litigation, rather than standardization efforts.<>

Published in:

IEEE Micro  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 6 )