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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] Standards and Antitrust

This time I am speaking as OASIS's lawyer, and Rob is 100 percent right here.  Just as there are restrictions on creating a monopoly, there are restrictions on creating boycotts.  The Allied Tube case that Paul likes to cite is a leading case in this category.  In that case, the traditional metallic tube vendors sought to keep plastic tubing out of their standards, in order to maintain their dominence.

Paul has overstated many things about antitrust laws, but here is one that you should take to heart:  Thou Shalt Not Create Any Standard (or other Deliverable) that is targeted to exclude a single vendor (whether it be Microsoft, or Red Hat, or IBM, or whoever).  Compete with a standard one of them is promoting, yes - that's competition.  Exclude them, no.  
The best way to stay on the right side of the law is never to advise any action against any single vendor, or allied vendors, by name.  Suggestions should always be justifiable by being the right decision for the marketplace, in general and directly.  "Increasing competition on the desktop" is fine, in contrast to "Tucking it to Microsoft.". It's important to understand the difference.
Sent by PDA

 ----- Original Message -----
  From: robert_weir
  Sent: 06/23/2008 08:25 AM AST
  To: oiic-formation-discuss@lists.oasis-open.org
  Subject: [oiic-formation-discuss] Standards and Antitrust

We need to be very careful here.  

Quick background from a non lawyer.

Adam Smith in his 1776  "The Wealth of Nations" has the memorable line:

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

That is the essence of  cartels and other anti-competitive business arrangements.  Various laws have been developed over the years to prevent and/or eliminate such practices.

However, in order to form standards, which generally are pro-competitive and are to the public's benefit, competitors meet together and cooperate, within the limited sphere.  We will compete strongly in the implementations, but we cooperate (while at the same time representing as well our own business's interests) in creating the standards.  But the restriction is that we cannot discuss things like prices, market allocations, or other similar topics.  In particular I must call "foul" whenever anyone discusses the competitive position of a particular company and suggests that this list or the proposed TC take any action based on that competitive position.  We can't do that.  We can't even discuss that.

Everyone should familiarize themselves with the following applicable OASIS policy:  http://www.oasis-open.org/who/antitrust-policy.php



jose lorenzo <hozelda@yahoo.com> wrote on 06/21/2008 02:14:10 PM:

> I have no problem with you trying to tighten the language on ODF as
> is and add whatever necessary fillers [ignoring all the details
> about where would that take place, this TC, elsewhere, etc]. The
> problem is in trying to change too many things, many of which are
> nitpicks when you consider the big picture, that OO.o is open source
> and that MSOffice is still an opaque monster and owns the market.
> That is a very serious problem. I believe, for establishing a
> competitive market, anything that works against cutting Monopolysoft
> down in size is aiding and abetting Monopolysoft and would be
> illegal according to US antitrust law.

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