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Optimizing Government Project

The Voluntary Codes and Standards Project

This project of the Penn Program on Regulation, made possible with the support of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), offers resources for faculty to integrate attention to technical codes and standards into the curriculum of core and elective courses in law school or public policy graduate programs.

At this site, you will find course modules that are intended to provide all the materials needed to support one or more class sessions on a topic that would typically be taught in traditional courses, but using an example from the world of nongovernmental standard-setting organizations.  The modules are organized around three issues or topics:

(1) Standard essential patents, drawing on a case study of an intellectual property dispute between Microsoft and Motorola.

(2) Incorporation by reference, the process by which federal agencies build into their public regulations the standards developed by nongovernmental standard-setting organizations;

(3) Risk regulation, incorporating a lesson about private standards into the teaching of the Supreme Court’s Benzene decision; and

(4) Federal preemption, drawing on a case study of federal efficiency standards and local green building code requirements;

The modules variously include selected readings, teaching notes, slides, supplemental videos, and discussion questions. 

In addition, this website’s reading room provides helpful background information on codes-and-standards issues as well as other readings that are useful for interested faculty or students.

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This website was developed by the Penn Program on Regulation (PPR) under the direction of Cary Coglianese, PPR’s Director and the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The materials contained in this website were prepared using federal funds under awards 70NANB15H343 and 70NANB15H344 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Commerce. Any statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author or authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NIST or the U.S. Department of Commerce.