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Voluntary industry standards on technical specifications play an important role in the economy by ensuring interoperability among complementary products and interchangeability between competing products. Once such a standard is established it may be prohibitively difficult to switch to an alternative technology. As a result, the owner of patented technology incorporated into a standard may engage in "patent hold-up" by asserting the patent to exclude a competitor or obtain a higher price for using the technology than would have been possible before the standard was set. Standard-setting organizations (SSOs) rely on voluntary licensing commitments, which often take the form of an agreement to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (F/RAND) or reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms, to mitigate the possibility of patent hold-up.

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