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ANSI Legal Issues Forum Addresses the Business of Standards Setting

New York, Oct 28, 2008

On October 22, nearly 75 legal experts and representatives of the standards and conformity assessment community came together for the 2008 Legal Issues Forum: Putting it all Together – How the IRS, IPR, and Internet Impact the Business of Standard Setting.

The forum was held by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as part of the World Standards Week 2008 series of events. Participants addressed a spectrum of legal issues that impact the business of standards setting in a series of three panels.

“We are seeing a number of recent changes in the law that will have a big impact on the standards and conformity assessment community,” said Patricia Griffin, ANSI vice president and general counsel. “The Legal Issues Forum panelists addressed these changes and made organizations aware of how their businesses may be affected.”

During the opening panel, “New IRS Code Changes Affecting Not-For-Profits and Their Corporate Board Members,” Nancy Murphy of Grant Thornton and Stephanie B. Casteel of King & Spalding LLP discussed the changes to IRS Form 990, which leads to the need for increased transparency in not-for-profit organizations. The panelists also addressed the impact of IRS code changes on directors sitting on not-for-profit Boards, and specifically the obligation of not-for-profit organizations to disclose transactions between Board members. Panel one was moderated by Sharon Stanford of the American Dental Association and chair of the ANSI Organizational Member Forum.

The second panel, “Legal Development in Email and Internet Practices,” examined best practices for corporate email, copyright use on the Internet, and aspects of employment law related to the Internet. Speakers Ronald J. Levine of Herrick Feinstein, LLP, Rose Auslander of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, and Shelly Sharp Blews of King & Spalding LLP were joined by moderator Rita M. Harold of the Illuminating Engineering Society of America (IESNA) and chair of the ANSI Board of Standards Review. Mr. Levine cautioned attendees about the dangers of email communications, Ms. Auslander counseled on the perils of copyright law as it pertains to web page development and related activity, and Ms. Blews addressed labor laws and workplace policies that have been shaped by Internet usage and telecommuting.

The final panel, “Antitrust Developments in Standards Development,” focused on patent policies as they may relate to standards development and antitrust law. Panelists also addressed the Rambus and N-Data cases, and what these decisions mean for the standards community, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s approach to standards-related antitrust issues. William Berger of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and chair of ANSI’s Executive Standards Council acted as moderator, with Earl Nied of the Intel Corporation, Geoffrey D. Oliver of Jones Day, and Melanie Sabo of the FTC sitting on the panel.

A video recording of the LIF will soon be available for purchase. Check back on ANSI Online in the coming weeks for more details.

For more information or to view presentations given during the Legal Issues Forum, please visit the event page. Questions and comments may be directed to Patricia Griffin, ANSI vice president and general counsel (212.642.4954;

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