Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht

Re-visiting the EU standardization legal framework in the open source era: a quest for adaptation.

The research aims to study the adaptability of both EU competition and ICT standardization legal frameworks to open source. The project will focus on the study of current standardization and open source innovation models, to then analyze the need to adapt the EU legal framework to new ICT dynamics.

Last Update: 15.03.22

This research project seeks to analyze the effects of the ubiquity of software and related innovation dynamics imposed by new industry trends, such as IoT, in standardization settings. As a result, on the one hand, actors from both standardization and open source platforms are faced with new challenges which may have an impact on their current business models; on the other hand, policy makers and regulators have started to acknowledge the potential risks and benefits to be extracted from it.

Firstly, the project focuses on the study of current standardization and open source innovation models, by scrutinizing their dynamics, benefits and pitfalls. Chapters 2 and 3 provide an analysis of two different - and sometimes confronting - intellectual property cultures, and depict the rationale behind current legal instruments present in these two divergent approaches to innovation– eg standards’ IPR policies, open source licenses.

Secondly, the research aims to assess whether there is a need to adapt the EU standardization legal framework due to the increasing relevance of open source and related consortia in ICT markets. Chapters 5 and 6 analyze the current interplay between competition law frameworks and ICT standardization. Moreover, the main aim of this part is to emphasize the need of adaptation of existing competition law tools and regulations on standardization (eg Regulation 1025/2012) to new software-based standardization models. Henceforth, by the identification of the challenges arising in standardization and open source settings, the research targets existing legal vacuums and outdated legal instruments, which may potentially lead to future standardization, competition and innovation distortions in EU ICT markets. As a result, the author is currently working on  proposing amendments focusing on the Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines (art 101 TFEU) and Regulation 1025/2012.

Thirdly, the research will target internal failures in SDOs and open source settings, and will explore new legal tools seeking to contribute to the adaptation of current EU standardization frameworks - eg IPR policies - to open source. The objective of this chapter is to achieve a better integration of open source dynamics into standardization bodies and vice versa; and to secure an efficient interrelation between standardization and open source proponents.

Finally, the project will propose new legal mechanisms able to steer the transition towards a new standardization approach in the areas of competition law and standardization law. The proposed legal tools will seek to strengthen both innovation and competition settings in the EU.


Doctoral Student

Carlos Muñoz Ferrandis

Main Areas of Research

II.1 Technologiegetriebene Märkte