Implementing IT Standards in Software: Challenges and Recommendations for Organisations Planning Software Development Covering IT Standards


  • Björn Lundell
  • Jonas Gamalielsson
  • Andrew Katz


To develop software based on standards, developers will often require patent licences for the patents which impinge on those standards. This paper reports on an investigation into acquiring patent licences required to implement three specific formal standards in software, namely ISO 32000-1 (a standard based on PDF 1.7), ISO/IEC 29500 (Office Open XML), and ISO 20022 (a standard for international financial business communication). In particular, the licences were requested in the context of implementation of those standards in open source software. We elaborate on the challenges of seeking to obtain those rights, providing examples. Findings show evidence of significant practical difficulty of obtaining the necessary licences, and we examine the implications of that evidence. We make specific recommendations both in terms of the steps which an organisation should take into account prior to considering implementing such a standard in software, as well as recommendations to changes in policy and practice aimed at reducing friction in implementing such standards in open source software.






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