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8 J. Intell. Prop. Info. Tech. & Elec. Com. L. 39 (2017)
Interoperability in the Digital Economy

handle is hein.journals/jipitec8 and id is 43 raw text is: 

Interoperability in the Digital Economy

Interoperability in the Digital Economy

byWolfgang Kerber, professor of Economics, Marburg Centre for Institutional Economics, School of Business &
Economics, Phipps University Marburg

and Heike Schweitzer, professor of Law and Managing Director of the institute for German and European
Economic Law, Competition Law and Regulatory Law, Freie Universitat Berlin

Abstract:       Interoperability has become a buzz
yord in European policy debates on the future of the

digital economy. In its Dig
mission has identified al ac
of the significant obstace
omy. The EU Commission
tors have advocated far
suring the interoperability
platforms and communica
per, ye present a systema

ital Agenda, the LU Coin
k of interoperability as one
to a thriving digital econ
and a number of other ac
reaching policies for en
of digital goods, services,
tion networks. in this pa
tic framework for discuss

ing interoperability probems from an economic and
legal perspective and apply it to several interopera
bility issues such as, e.g., standard  7ation, interoper
ability regulation in the fied of electronic communi
cation, duties of dominant firms (incuding platforms)

to ensure horizontal and vertical interoperability and
IP aw exceptions in favor of interoperability. The
complex trade offs between benefits and costs of
a higher degree of interoperability suggest the need
for a careful and separate analysis of each specific in
teroperability issue, caution regarding a (top down)
imposition of mandatory standards and interopera
oiity obligations, and a greater focus on unilateral so
lutions of interoperability probems, such as adapt
ers or converters. Within the framevork of Art. 102
TFEU, EU competition aw    e may be better advised to
develop a vorkabe test to address hurdes for uni


Interoperatiil y solutions created by dominant
than to continue focusing on the essential fa
doctrine to mandate interoperability.

© 2017 Wolfgang Kerber and Heike Schweitzer

Everybody may disseminate this article by electronic means and make it available for download under the terms and
conditions of the Digital Peer Publishing Licence (DPPL). A copy of the license text may be obtained at http://nbn-resolving.

Recommended citation: Wolfgang Kerber and Heike Schweitzer,
para 1.

A. Introduction

1   Interoperability has become a buzzword in European
    policy debates on the future of the digital economy. In
    its Digital Agenda, the EU Commission has identified
    a lack of interoperability as one out of seven1 most
    significant obstacles to the virtuous cycle of
    digitalization.2 Effective interoperability between

1   The other obstacles are: fragmented digital markets;
    rising cybercrime and risk of low trust in networks; lack
    of investment in networks; insufficient research and
    innovation efforts; lack of digital literacy and skills; and
    missed opportunities in addressing societal challenges -
    see EU Commission, A Digital Agenda for Europe, Brussels,
    19.5.2010, COM(2015)245 fin., p. 5-6.
2   EU Commission, A Digital Agenda for Europe, Brussels,
    19.5.2010, COM(2010)245 fin., p. 3.

Interoperability in the Digital Economy, 8 (2017) JlPlTEC 39

    networks, devices, applications, data repositories
    and services has thus become a major goal of the
    European Digital Agenda, which aims to stimulate
    the emergence of a truly digital society and to
    boost innovation and European competitiveness.'
    Significant market players shall be led to pursue
    interoperability-friendly business policies.'

3    See, for example, EU Commission, A Digital Agenda for
     Europe, Brussels, 19.5.2010, COM(2010)245 fin., p. 14-15; EU
     Commission, A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe,
     Brussels, 6.5.2015, COM(2015)192 fin.
4    See EU Commission, A Digital Agenda for Europe, Brussels,
     19.5.2010, COM(2010)245 fin., p. 15: The Commission
     will examine the feasibility of measures that could lead
     significant market players to license interoperability
     information while at the same time promoting innovation
     and competition.

1    jipltec


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