The Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) is now so commonplace that few pause to notice or to ponder it. The small rectangle of black and white bars that embodies the U.P.C. adorns virtually every item we purchase in the supermarket, discount store, or shopping mall - and we take it for granted. Yet twenty-five years ago, the U.P.C. was no more than an idea shared by a small cadre of manufacturing and chain store executives. Here Stephen A. Brown, the legal counsel of those pioneering executives, traces the origin and development of the U.P.C. The sheer success of the Code should make this account of interest to those who would understand the dynamic of technology and business. The development of the U.P.C. illustrates the process of setting industry standards without government intervention and shows how systems of complementary technologies evolve.