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Law and Order: ANSI Prepares for Fourth Annual SDO Legal Issues Forum


New York , May 28, 2003

The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) 2003 Legal Issues Forum for Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) will be held on Thursday, October 2, 2003 in conjunction with the ANSI Annual Conference and World Standards Week 2003 events.

Designed to address the concerns of ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers (ASD) and Standards Developing Organizations (SDO), the Forum will bring together a distinguished panel of experts to address a variety of legal issues within the context of standards and the standards development process. The SDO Legal Issues Forum has provided a means to track and analyze the changing legal landscape vis-à-vis the standards developer community.

“Legal issues arise throughout the voluntary standards development process, such as challenges to a developer's assertion of copyright in its published standards, negligence/tort claims asserted against standards developers and antitrust concerns,” said Amy A. Marasco, ANSI vice president and general counsel.

As the Forum’s moderator, Ms. Marasco will lead a discussion concerning recent legal developments surrounding the incorporation of patented technology in standards and the roles that SDOs, patent holders, and the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are playing in that debate.

Maureen Brodoff, vice president and general counsel to the National Fire Protection Association, will explore the issue of whether a voluntary consensus standard loses it status as a privately copyrighted document when it is adopted or referred to by a government entity. In particular, she will focus on the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Southern Building Code Congress, Inc. v. Veeck, as well as the decision the United States Supreme Court will have made by the Forum’s date regarding a review of the case.

Thomas O’Brien, counsel for ASTM International, will familiarize Forum participants with H.R. 1086, the Standards Development Organization Advancement Act of 2003, a bill that would amend the National Cooperative Research and Production Act of 1993 (NCRPA). The NCRPA allows organizations involved in joint research endeavors to file for protection from antitrust claims, and H.R. 1086 would make explicit the opportunity for SDOs to file for this protection.

Clark Silcox, counsel to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, will provide an update on the assertion of negligence/tort claims against standards developers in the wake of the Washington State Court of Appeals decision regarding the National Spa and Pool Institute.

John Verscaj, vice president and general counsel to Underwriters Laboratories Inc. will discuss negligence/tort claims as well, addressing aspects of the issue that are of particular import to certification bodies.

ANSI is presenting the SDO Legal Issues Forum for the fourth year in a row, fulfilling important needs in the standards arena. “A lot of developers are not able to have in-house counsel, so the Forum is a good opportunity for them to take advantage of the knowledge of several well-respected general counsels,” says Ms. Marasco. “It is also an opportunity for developers to react to important legal issues as a community of shared interests.”

Participation in the forum requires advance registration and a payment of $100 with Annual Conference registration, $125 ANSI Members, and $195 Non-members. All those interested in registering should contact Carol Klunder at 212.642.4926 or cklunder@ansi.org. For more information about the event itself, contact Sue Hurst at 212.642.4904 or shurst@ansi.org.

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