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EU FRAND Report Signals Problems

ComputerWorldUK - Simon Phipps - The final report from a European Commission meeting designed to whitewash patents in standards may prove a helpful marker for watchful eyes looking out for abuse.

You may recall I spotted a meeting happening in Brussels that looked as if it was a set-up job. I suspected its goal was to ensure that a report was produced which could be referenced in future discussions over EU procurement policies -- especially Britain's. While it was probably not a documented goal, such a report could be used to falsely demonstrate that technical standards with patents in them are no problem for open source software.

Well, the report is out, and as Glyn Moody disclosed on December 31st, it's everything I predicted. This was a shameful set-up job to ensure there would be a plausible-looking statement on the public record. Its purpose: propagating the strawman needed to defend procurement policies that require permission to be sought from a commercial power-broker.

The strawman is that, if any open source project can be found that's successfully implementing a technical standard that requires use of patented techniques and has those patents licensed under "Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory" (FRAND) terms, then it must be OK for all open source projects and all variants of FRAND.