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U.K. Comes out for Royalty-Free Standards for Government Procurement

Feb 25, 2011, 20:33 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

"The U.K. has become the latest country to conclude that for information and communications technology (ICT) procurement purposes, "open standards" means "royalty free standards." While apparently falling short of a legal requirement, a Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note recommends that all departments, agencies, non-departmental bodies and "any other bodies for which they are responsible" should specify open standards in their procurement activities, unless there are "clear business reasons why this is inappropriate."

"Under the new Procurement Note, "open standards" are defined as standards that:

* result from and are maintained through an open, independent process;
* are approved by a recognised specification or standardisation organisation, for example W3C or ISO or equivalent. (N.B. The specification/standardization must be compliant with Regulation 9 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. This regulation makes it clear that technical specifications/standards cannot simply be national standards but must also include/recognise European standards);
* are thoroughly documented and publicly available at zero or low cost;
* have intellectual property made irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis; and
* as a whole can be implemented and shared under different development approaches and on a number of platforms."

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