Bonum Certa Men Certa

FRAND Dies in the United Kingdom

Union Jack



Summary: The British government says no to "FRAND"-washed software patents traps, at least in the public sector

It is with great pleasure that we read this news about standards winning in the UK. Real standards:



Whitehall has launched its long-awaited response to the open standards consultation, which will force government bodies to comply with its list of "Open Standards Principles" when purchasing technology.

Departments must use the principles for all software interoperability and data and document formats. If they do not use the principles they will have to apply for an exemption, according to a Cabinet Office statement. As of today the principles will be embedded in the Cabinet Office's spend control process.



Over at IDG, never mind London-based sites, Simon Phipps, the OSI's President (from the UK), celebrates on the news:

Government procurements now prefer open standards - and that means no patent restrictions in the standards.


Here is something about getting it right:

A little over five years ago I was speaking at a conference for the CIOs of various Canadian ministries. Speaking just before me was a consultant from Accenture who was presenting on their most recent Global Report on Government Service Delivery. In it, Canada had just slipped from first to second in the world, after Singapore. While slightly disappointed, the audience remained content that among 30 or so leading countries in the world, Canada remained second.


The FSFE's response was noted by some:

The new policy does not cover open-source software, which is part of a different policy document.

"This is a major step forward," said the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) of the Open Standards Principles.



Here is the original statement in full, courtesy of Karsten:

Today, the UK took a long-awaited, important step towards fixing this problem. (FSFE press release) It published a set of “Open Standards principles” (pdf). They’re effective immediately, and all central government bodies will have to abide by them. It also put out a response to the public Open Standards consultation that it had run up to June 2012. (See FSFE’s response to the consultation.) In this post, I’m covering only the Open Standards principles.


This news is important for British SMBs which capitalise on standards, unlike giant multinationals.

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