The Rise and Limits of Self-Regulation
New Horizons in Competition Law and Economics series
Chapter 7: Comparative analysis and critique
Standards, and especially standards produced by standard-setting organizations (SSOs), are a growing phenomenon, especially in connection with the 'New Economy'. There are several reasons for this growth. First, we are currently developing the infrastructure of the 'New Economy' and since this is done in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders, rather than unilaterally by public organs, collaboration is essential. Secondly, specialization is also profound among firms in, for example, the ICT sector and therefore agreed and transparent interfaces, decided through standard setting, between products and firms are necessary. Thirdly, globalization demands global joint solutions. In fact, it seems that standard setting is quickly becoming part of the core business practice of several firms with global entrepreneurial aims. Thus, it has become a core part of firms' competitive strategies. Finally, The 'New Economy' is plagued by network effect and markets with network effects migrate towards single standards. Competition law practitioners are quickly realizing this, especially in the light of the current patent war. Nonetheless, it would still be beneficial for standard setting, with adjoining collaboration such as patent pooling and standard-driven joint R & D, to receive more attention from the competition authorities and its importance acknowledged by receiving its own guidelines, where the issues of anti-competitive agreements and monopolization could be addressed. The aim of this chapter is to provide a general and broad analysis of the US and EU antitrust regulation of standards.
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