No. 38: Data Sharing and Interoperability Through APIs: Insights from European Regulatory Strategy


Publish Date:
November 21, 2018
Publication Title:
European Union Law Working Papers
Stanford Law School
Working Paper
  • Oscar Borgogno & Giuseppe Colangelo, Data Sharing and Interoperability Through APIs: Insights from European Regulatory Strategy, EU Law Working Papers No. 38, Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum (2018).
Related Organization(s):


Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been identified by the European Commission as a key enabler of interoperability among private and public undertakings. Moreover, a systematic adoption of open and standardized APIs by firms and developers appears to be crucial for unlocking competition and promoting the flourishing of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) innovation.

An analysis of the main European regulatory initiatives which have so far surfaced in the realm of data governance (right to personal data portability, free flow of non-personal data, access to customer account data rule, re-use of government data) reveals that the EU legislature is not tackling the matter consistently. While all of these initiatives share a reliance on APIs for the facilitation of a sound and effective data sharing ecosystem, they vary in terms of rationale, scope and implementation. Furthermore, data sharing via APIs requires a complex implementation process, and technicalities are crucial for their success. Moreover, an excessive reliance on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms might be overestimated when it comes to data compensation, as has been demonstrated by the continuing saga involving standard essential patents.