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Mar 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 5)

Standard Setting Increasingly Under Siege

Before Joining an SSO, Firms Need to Be Fully Cognizant of the Established Policies

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    Steven B. Pokotilow

    During the standard-setting process, it often is advantageous to incorporate the latest technological advances into the standard. In the pharmaceutical and biotechnological fields, standardization of laboratory techniques (such as ultrahigh-throughput screening) may involve patented fluid delivery systems, vessel design, genetic markers, antibodies, or bioinformatic tools.

    A standard is captured when a rogue member of a standard-setting organization (SSO) influences the SSO to select a standard requiring the use of that member’s intellectual property, with the intention of extracting excessive royalty payments from the industry once the standard is adopted industry-wide. 

    Once the standard is widely adopted, the rogue member may assert its patent rights against industry participants, thus holding up the industry that adopted the standard. This can be a no-win situation for the industry as it could force participants to agree to arguably excessive royalty payments, incur the cost and delay of adopting a new standard, or face costly patent litigation.

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    Amy E. Wilson, Ph.D.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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