From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
The Rules of Acquisition, in the fictional Star Trek universe, are a set of guidelines intended to ensure the profitability of businesses owned by members of the ultra-capitalist alien species known as Ferengi.
In the Deep Space Nine episode titled "The Maquis: Part 1", Sakonna, a Vulcan, asked Quark to explain what a Rule of Acquisition was. He stated: "Every Ferengi business transaction is governed by 285 rules of acquisition to insure a fair and honest deal for all parties concerned... well most of them anyway."
The first rule was made by Gint, the first Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance, a role with political, economic, and even quasi-religious duties. The title of "Rules of Acquisition" was chosen as a clever marketing ploy (since the rules are merely guidelines) and Gint numbered his first rule as #162, in order to create a demand for the other 161 Rules that had yet to be written. The Rules were said to be divinely inspired and sacred (thus furthering the original marketing ploy).
Although it has been stated within Star Trek that there are 285 rules, not all of them have been stated in canon. Most of the rules were written by Ira Steven Behr and he published many of them in a book The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (ISBN 0-671-52936-6), the cover of which credits authorship as being "By Quark as told to Ira Steven Behr." Additional rules were published in Legends of the Ferengi (ISBN 0-671-00728-9), by Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Behr and Wolfe were both writers for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with Behr being the Executive Producer of the series.
In the Voyager episode False Profits is mentioned about the book: "Unabridged and fully annotated with all 47 commentaries, all 900 major and minor judgments, all 10,000 considered opinions. There's a rule for every conceivable situation". There is also a note about The Unwritten Rule: "When no appropriate rule applies... make one up."
In addition to the Rules, Ferengi recognize five Stages of Acquisition: