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Making the Rules: The Governance of Standard Development Organizations and their Policies on Intellectual Property Rights

Abstract: 
This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the governance of standard development organizations (SDOs), with a particular emphasis on organizations developing standards for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The analysis is based on 17 SDO case studies, a survey of SDO stakeholders, an expert workshop, and a comprehensive review of the legal and economic literature. The study considers the external factors conditioning SDO decision making on rules and procedures, including binding legal requirements, government influence, the network of cooperative relationships with other SDOs and related organizations, and competitive forces. SDO decision-making is also shaped by internal factors, such as the SDOs’ institutional architecture of decision-making bodies and their respective decision-making processes, which govern the interaction among SDO stakeholders and between stakeholders and the SDO itself. The study also analyzes governance principles, such as openness, balance of interests, and consensus decision-making, and discusses their interplay. The insights from these analyses are applied to SDO decision making on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policies, which represents a particularly salient and controversial aspect of SDO policy development.