Lessons from the Past: Public Standardization in the Spotlight

Lessons from the Past: Public Standardization in the Spotlight

Ulrich Blum (Dresden University Technology, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/jitsr.2005010101
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This study considers the developments in international standardization over the last 20 years, particularly the status of public standardization as compared with consortium-based industrial standardization. The report shows that the radical reform of the global public standardization system in 2008, prompted by the loss of interest in public standardization on the part of large corporations and the sometimes less-than-satisfactory outcomes from consortium-based industrial standardization in terms of competition and antitrust considerations, has helped to compensate for the declining significance of national public standardization, particularly for national governments, and is to be regarded as a clearly positive development, from both the economic and the institutional and political points of view. Global public interests are now catered for by Internet-supported information markets; in particular, online documentation has also enhanced the transparency of the public standardization process and provided freedom of access for small- and medium-sized companies in particular, irrespective of geographical region. Finally, the study shows that the debate that took place in and around the year 2004 between Europe and the USA regarding the path towards the internationalization of public standardization processes was superfluous, incomplete and even counterproductive, owing to the hardening of the political divisions between the two sides.

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