EU patent court or software patents legalised via central caselaw

Brussels, 2 April 2008 — ISO members failed to disapprove the Open XML format. Microsoft has compromised the International Standards Organisation (ISO) during the rush to get a stamp for their Office OpenXML (OOXML), using unfair practices such as committee stuffing in several countries and political interventions of ministers in the standardization process.

OOXML received 75 percent approval votes of p-members of JTC1, among them many nations of questionable expertise in standardization. In September a first attempt to approve the 6000 page standard Open XML failed with more than 3500 submitted comments. As in September many of the new approval votes were won by political high level intervention and the vendors dominance in national technical committees.

Benjamin Henrion, initiator of the <NO>OOXML campaign, is furious about the tactics he followed over several months: "Committee stuffing is a standard practice for Microsoft. Microsoft raped ISO with their office file formats, leaving the organization in limbo. The whole campaign against the format have raised an army of people, which are furious about the dirty tactics used by Microsoft to get the broken standard through ISO. This anger won't go away, and I wish good luck to Microsoft to get it adopted by governments. The reputation of Microsoft went down below zero with this process."

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"What did the ISO… say to the anti-OOXML crowd? “Go away, losers.” In four different languages, no less. Open XML is here to stay, yum-yums*. Get over it! Now, can we all just get along?" *How must those troglodytes Sutor, Updegrove, and Jones feel right now? John Obeto, Absolute Vista

"…standardization of a patented invention can yield procompetitive benefits, stimulate innovative research and development, and make the patent holder’s intellectual property more accessible to consumers through competing products." Amy Marasco, ANSI vice president, FTC testimony 2002

"…the OSP is a great next step. Amy Marasco and Glen Johnson at MS are the quiet heroes who have been working so hard on the [OSP] text itself. A huge cast of characters both within MS and from various reaches of the community were also involved." Matusow Blog, 12.9.2006

"The ISO Secretary General, Mr Alan Bryden was in India in December 2007 and I had asked him what he thought of the controversy surrounding the OOXML process. His answer was that ISO is a democratic organization and it will emerge stronger from this controversy. Very glib answer but an absolute and shameful lie." — Venkatesh Hariharan, Open Source India: ISO/IEC and OOXML: The judge, the jury and the hangman

"Standards bodies do important work in difficult circumstances. But like all of us their rules need to keep pace with the changing commercial environment. If they need help in tightening up their rules to avoid being manipulated by narrow commercial interests, or to design the right ex ante rules, then they have my support. My door is always open." — Neelie Kroes, Antitrust Commissioner, Being open about standards

"The world needs a reasonably competent and transparent standards organization whose integrity is not a standing joke." — Tim Bray, Sun Microsystems, OOXML: Everything’s Just Fine