in: Wirtschaft im Wandel,
Standards are an important part of the codified knowledge of a society. In contrast to industry standards, formal standards are created in a consensus-based procedure open to all interested parties. Only if an economic interest for application exists will formal standards be produced. Interested parties have to shoulder participation costs themselves, which enforces economic interest. Up to a certain extent, governments also trigger and finance formal standardisation processes through the new approach, which creates a framework that is filled by private activity. Standards stand at the end of intellectual property rights if the totality of the value chain of knowledge production is looked at. One important aspect is their accessibility and the inclusion of all necessary intellectual property rights, especially patents, at reasonable prices. Conversely, consortia may exclude groups from the use of their standards. By preventing the licensing of those patents included in a standard, they can effectively block market entry. Thus, “successful” standards often face antitrust problems. Formal standards reduce costs of production through economies of scale, economies of scope and network-economies. Goods and processes that are standardized signal quality, the inclusion of high technological standards and permanent presence in the markets, which again accelerates market dissemination. Firms face a dilemma: On the one hand, the penetration of a markets with industry standards offers potentials for high profits; on the other hand, this has to be balanced against the risk of failure, especially if clients are hesitant because they do not know which standard will be successful in the end. Formal standards create and stabilize trust markets. This is especially true in the area of globalisation. Europe, which has to face an enormous competition in the international knowledge economy, needs an institutionally efficient approach to formal standardisation. This contribution addresses future problems of the European standardisation that have been developed within the framework of a working group of the European Standardisation Organisation called Future Landscape of European Standardisation (FLES).