Venkatesh Hariharan reports:
After three years of continuous running battles, India’s Department of Information Technology has finalized the national policy on Open
Standards. Over the last three years, we worked with our friends in government, academic, civil society and the media to push the Indian government in favor of a policy that mandates a single, royalty-free standard. With this, India becomes another major country to join the growing open standards movement.
India’s e-governance standards portal is at http://egovstandards.gov.in/ and this is the link from which you can directly read the policy document.
Of particular interest is Clause 4.1.2:
4.1.2 The Patent claims necessary to implement the Identified Standard shall be made available on a Royalty-Free basis for the life time of the Standard.
This clause ensures that open standards do not discriminate against open source, which is great news for the free software and open source software communities. More importantly, as India’s star continues to rise, this shows that a leading nation of the world can discuss, debate, and decide a policy that balances—and indeed strengthens—the interests of business and the rights of the people. The wisdom and courage of India are on full display today!