PCATS AntiTrust and IP Policy
The following is taken from ARTICLE V of the PCATS Operating Procedures and Guidelines.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY
Section 5.1 General Policy
PCATS will develop and fund various Work Groups and Technical Committees. The goals of the PCATS efforts are to research, develop, and maintain standards that enable PCATS Members to become more efficient, to reduce costs, and to increase profitability. Work on such PCATS Standards includes development of intellectual property. Because of the serious implications such intellectual property holds for the standards process, PCATS has adopted a Policy respecting how the Alliance and its Members will treat any intellectual property assets. This Policy governs the development of the Standards, including the protection and administration of intellectual property that may be associated with the PCATS Standards.
Section 5.2 Compliance and Openness
Section 5.2.1 The PCATS Policy is consistent with the Standards Development procedures adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), including the ANSI Patent Policy, as set forth in Sections 1.2.11 - 1.2.14 of ANSI's Procedures for the Development and Coordination of American National Standards" as approved by the ANSI Board of Directors (the "ANSI Procedures"), which is incorporated herein. This Policy conforms in all material respects to the ANSI Procedures in order to ensure that non-discriminatory licenses for free or reasonable royalties are available if patented or patentable elements are included within PCATS Standards.
Section 5.2.2 Meetings of the PCATS Technical Committees and Working Groups are open to all parties that have a direct or material interest in PCATS Standards, including all industry retailers and vendors, subject to the voting rights for each class of membership. A summary of this Intellectual Property Policy will be presented at the beginning of each PCATS Standards meeting in order to ensure that Members and non-Members are aware of its requirements and effects. PCATS shall provide timely and adequate notice of all meetings and meeting agendas will be published prior to each meeting. Detailed minutes of each meeting are promptly published for participants.
Section 5.3 Duty to Disclose Patents and Copyrights
Section 5.3.1 Because Members and non-Members will rely upon PCATS Standards, PCATS has adopted a duty to disclose intellectual property rights in any work undertaken by the Technical Committees or Working Groups. It is imperative that every participant in the standards process knows what potential patents or copyrights might affect proposed Standards as they are being discussed, debated and modified. The failure to disclose claimed intellectual property rights may induce parties to act to their detriment.
Section 5.3.2 Members or any other interested non-Member parties participating in a Technical Committee or Working Group (collectively "Participants") must disclose any copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary rights which arguably may cover technology that may be required to use or implement any proposed Standards ("Exclusive IP Rights"). The written notification should include as much information as the Participant knows relevant to the proposed standard being considered sufficient to identify how the Exclusive IP would interfere with or hinder adoption of the proposed standard: however, in the case of unpublished pending patent applications, the Participant must only identify with reasonable particularity the specific claims or elements it believes would be covered by the proposed Standard. Disclosures under this provision should be made as soon as a Participant becomes aware of the conflict between its Exclusive IP Rights and any proposed Standard.
Section 5.3.3 Paricipants claiming Exclusive IP Rights that may affect the use or implementation of the proposed Standards agree to either waive such Exclusive IP Rights or to provide licenses to all potential users of the final Standard on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions. In the event a Participant fails to notify the PCATS Technical Committee or Working Group of Exclusive IP Rights in accordance with Section 5.3.2, and a Standard is adopted that is in conflict with later-discovered Exclusive IP Rights, Participants agree that: (1) the Participant waives the Exclusive IP Rights with respect to any use of the Standard, and (2) the Participant will not seek to enforce the Exclusive IP Rights against any Use of the Standard.
The following is taken from ARTICLE VII of the PCATS Operating Procedures and Guidelines.
Although a standards organization, including its Technical Committees and Working Groups, is recognized as a valuable tool of American business, one of the potential dangers which members of any organization face is compliance with federal and state antitrust laws, which generally forbid any combination, contract or conspiracy that restrains trade. Since PCATS, as well as its Technical Committees and Working Groups, are by nature comprised of a combination of competitors, all PCATS Members must ensure that their activities do not violate the law.
The following activities are among those that have been held to be per se illegal under the antitrust laws:
- Agreements to fix prices, regardless of whether prices are increased, decreased, stabilized or set according to an agreed formula or subject to uniform discounts or allowances, including topics that might indirectly affect prices, such as costs, discounts, profit levels, production schedules or cost margins, standardization or stabilization of prices, pricing procedures, credit terms, or control of sales.
- Agreements to restrict volume or production;
- Agreements to divide or allocate territories or customers;
- Agreements not to deal with a particular customer or supplier or group of customers or suppliers, i.e. a boycott; while you can talk about your dissatisfaction or satisfaction with a class of goods or services, you cannot single out a supplier fro derision in a group setting.
PCATS Members should, therefore, refrain from any discussion that could be interpreted as an agreement to take common action on prices or production or allocation of customers or markets. This is especially true in the setting of an informal gathering, either before or after a regular meeting.
In order to avoid potential antitrust problems, PCATS adheres strictly to the following guidelines:
- PCATS meetings, including those of its Technical Committees and Working Groups, are held only when there is appropriate business to discuss.
- New members will receive an antitrust pamphlet that explains the antitrust laws and outlines their responsibilities as members of the PCATS, its Technical Committees or Working Groups, under the antitrust laws.
- Agendas are prepared, reviewed by counsel, and circulated to members.
- An antitrust statement and acknowledgement by the members will precede all regularly scheduled meetings.
- Counsel participates in the drafting of minutes and attends PCATS meetings, including those of its Technical Committees or Working Groups, when appropriate, unless the chair of the Technical Committee or Working Group has been trained in these areas.
If Members at any time have questions regarding the propriety of any activities of PCATS, its Technical Committees or Working Groups, or have questions in general regarding the antitrust laws, they are encouraged to seek legal counsel. PCATS retains competent counsel, whose primary purpose is to address any questions the Members might have regarding their actions and the antitrust laws. Members should contact the Executive Director if they have such a question, so that counsel can review the issue and render an opinion.