Towards Patent Standardization

27 Pages Posted: 29 May 2016 Last revised: 13 Jul 2016

See all articles by Janet Freilich

Janet Freilich

Fordham University School of Law

Jay P. Kesan

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: May 27, 2016


Standardization of patent language and form can improve the notice and disclosure functions of patents. Standardization has been discussed at length in many institutional and legal contexts, but little in relation to patent content. Similarly, while problems arising from lack of standardization are well characterized, practical suggestions for increasing standardization have been absent. This Article provides a comprehensive discussion of standardization of patent content. The Article's key intuition is that standardization can be achieved through a wide variety of mechanisms. In particular, standardization does not need to be mandated by formal rules. Rather, it can arise through voluntary informal mechanisms, providing an easier goal than statutory or regulatory intervention. This Article also offers strategies for increasing standardization in less tractable patent environments, such as software. Specifically, the Article discusses representational languages, already prevalent in software design, though not in resultant patents, as well the role of SSOs and other private organizations in encouraging standardization, and increased use of templates.

Suggested Citation

Freilich, Janet and Kesan, Jay P., Towards Patent Standardization (May 27, 2016). Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Forthcoming, University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-26, Available at SSRN:

Janet Freilich (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Jay P. Kesan

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-7887 (Phone)
217-244-1478 (Fax)


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