Rationalizing U.S. standardization policy: A proposal for institutional reform

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In the United States, national policy regarding standardization, and especially patents covering standardized products (standards-essential patents, or SEPs) is in a state of disarray. No single U.S. federal agency has authority over national policy toward standardization, nor does a coherent national standardization policy exist. Rather, policies are created ad hoc by a range of authorities, often in response to industry lobbying and in areas outside the agencies’ core competencies. The result has been a piecemeal array of conflicting and flip-flopping policies that confound private industry, harm consumers, and diminish the role of the United States as a model for the rest of the world. Rationalizing and centralizing this patchwork of policy authority would significantly improve consistency, predictability, and stability in this area of national importance.