During the last decade, many companies considered to implement RFID technology in their supply chains. They had to choose from a variety of largely incompatible RFID systems and therefore demanded RFID standardization. Only common RFID systems along the supply chain were expected to deliver the substantial benefits.

This paper describes the RFID pilot and roll-out by German fashion retailer Kaufhof and analyzes Kaufhof's role in the RFID standard-making process. It finds that (1) arguments concerning the RFID standard-making process partially deviate from the common public goods argument in the literature, (2) early involvement in standard-making mitigates a company's risk of future property right allegations, and (3) a third-party mediated standard-making process, rather than a vendor-promoted one, delivers feasible and compatible standards. The paper concludes with a summary and an outlook to future research.