CAIROS analysis

Approach sometimes applied by mediators in dispute resolution; an acronym for Communication, Alternatives, Interests, Relationships, Options and Standards:

  • The Communication ‘leg’ of the analysis suggests that negotiators focus on communicating with and learning from the counterparty;
  • the Alternatives ‘leg’ addresses what are the alternatives to reaching an agreement in the negotiation (sometimes called BATNA);
  • Interests focuses on what the interests of the parties in the dispute are, and whether and how they can be reconciled;
  • Relationships focuses on how the parties can work better together to reach a solution;
  • Options suggests looking for other approaches and solutions, including win-win solutions;
  • Standards focuses on trying to find some objective criteria or standards, potentially external to the negotiation to ‘benchmark,’ i.e., evaluate offers and solutions for fairness.

The CAIROS analysis was developed by Hesha and Jeff Abrams, who frequently serve as court appointed mediators in cases before Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a ‘rocket docket’ in which much patent litigation is brought and as a result has become somewhat influential in intellectual property dispute mediation.