This article focuses on the interaction between intellectual property rights (IPRs) regimes
and committee-based standards development organisations (SDOs) in terms
of the commodification of knowledge. IPRs and SDOs are institutions that are designed
to codify technical knowledge with quite different purposes though. The resulting
documents describe a private right (patent) or a public good (a standard).
The article associates the former with a commodification and the latter with a decommodification
process of technical knowledge, and it explores a situation in which
these respective purposes have come into conflict. The scope for conflict is examined
and analysed in light of the controversy, which emerged during the standardization
of GSM telephony in Europe.
Keywords: standardization, knowledge-commodification, GSM