Policies and Procedures

Comprehensive information about IEEE-SA governance, as well as links to relevant governing documents and boards and committees that support the standards development lifecyle.


6. Copyright, commercial terms and conditions, patents, and standard structure

6.1 Copyright
The IEEE owns the copyright of draft and approved IEEE standards (see 7.2 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws).

Contributions made by participants in an IEEE-SA standards development meeting, whether the contributions are Published or not, are subject to the IEEE-SA Copyright Policy set forth in Clause 7 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws.

6.1.1 Project Authorization Request (PAR)
At the time a PAR is submitted for approval, any known previously Published material intended for inclusion in the proposed IEEE standard shall be identified on the PAR. The Working Group Chair is responsible for obtaining written permission to use all previously Published material prior to the start of the initial ballot or prior to the next recirculation ballot if the excerpted material is inserted during comment resolution.

6.1.2 Contributions from previously Published sources
Participants in an IEEE Standards group who submit contributions containing excerpted content from previously Published sources shall notify the Chair of the need for permission, and should assist the Chair in obtaining that permission. Working Group Chairs are responsible for requesting and obtaining permission from external entities and for forwarding the completed response forms to the IEEE.

IEEE Permission Form Letters (.zip) should be used to request and grant such permissions. Permission Form Letters to use material unchanged or modified are available online (.zip). Agreements that do not conform to the IEEE Permission Form Letters are possible, but such requests shall be in writing and shall be approved by IEEE-SA staff.

6.1.3 Drafts of proposed IEEE standards
All drafts shall be clearly labeled to reflect their status as unapproved. Draft copyright statements
All drafts shall carry a copyright statement that:

a) The document is an unapproved draft of a proposed IEEE standard

b) The document is subject to change

c) The document shall not be utilized for conformance/compliance purposes.

An IEEE draft standard may be distributed without charge to the participants for that IEEE standards development project. Other persons seeking permission to reproduce the document, in whole or in part, must obtain permission from the IEEE Standards Activities Department.

The IEEE Standards Style Manual PDF format provides example text to meet the above requirements.

6.2 Commercial terms and conditions
Provisions involving business relations between buyer and seller such as guarantees, warranties, and other commercial terms and conditions shall not be included in an IEEE standard. The appearance that a standard endorses any particular products, services, or companies shall be avoided. Therefore, it generally is not acceptable to include manufacturer lists, service provider lists, or similar material in the text of an IEEE standard. Where a sole source exists for essential equipment, materials, or services necessary to comply with or to determine compliance with the standard, it is permissible to supply the name and address of the source in a footnote as long as the words "or the equivalent" are added to the reference.

6.3 Patents
The patent policy is set forth in clause 6 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws and is incorporated herein by reference.

Letters of Assurance are to be e-mailed, faxed, or mailed to the IEEE Standards Association (to the attention of the PatCom Administrator). The PatCom Administrator shall accept each Letter of Assurance that is complete and is received from an individual within the issuing organization whose title suggests authority for intellectual property and legal matters. The PatCom Administrator's duties with regard to Letters of Assurance shall be purely ministerial (i.e., without regard to or exercise of the PatCom Administrator's discretion regarding the content of the Letters of Assurance received). For each Accepted Letter of Assurance, the PatCom Administrator shall record the date on the signed Letter of Assurance and the date upon which the IEEE accepted such. The chair or the chair's delegate of an IEEE standards-developing working group or the chair of an IEEE standards Sponsor shall request a Letter of Assurance from Affiliates specifically excluded on an Accepted Letter of Assurance.

Upon written request, the IEEE will make available copies of any Accepted Letter of Assurance and its attachments. Letters received after 31 December 2006 shall be posted on the IEEE-SA website.

6.3.1 Public notice
The following notice shall appear in all draft and approved IEEE standards.

Attention is called to the possibility that implementation of this standard may require use of subject matter covered by patent rights. By publication of this standard, no position is taken by the IEEE with respect to the existence or validity of any patent rights in connection therewith. If a patent holder or patent applicant has filed a statement of assurance via an Accepted Letter of Assurance, then the statement is listed on the IEEE-SA website. Letters of Assurance may indicate whether the Submitter is willing or unwilling to grant licenses under patent rights without compensation or under reasonable rates, with reasonable terms and conditions that are demonstrably free of any unfair discrimination to applicants desiring to obtain such licenses.

Essential Patent Claims may exist for which a Letter of Assurance has not been received. The IEEE is not responsible for identifying Essential Patent Claims for which a license may be required, for conducting inquiries into the legal validity or scope of Patents Claims, or determining whether any licensing terms or conditions provided in connection with submission of a Letter of Assurance, if any, or in any licensing agreements are reasonable or non-discriminatory. Users of this standard are expressly advised that determination of the validity of any patent rights, and the risk of infringement of such rights, is entirely their own responsibility. Further information may be obtained from the IEEE Standards Association.

6.3.2 Call for patents
The chair or the chair's delegate of an IEEE standards-developing working group or the chair of an IEEE standards Sponsor shall be responsible for informing the participants at a meeting that if any individual believes that Patent Claims might be Essential Patent Claims, that fact should be made known to the entire working group and duly recorded in the minutes of the working group meeting. This request shall occur at every standards-developing meeting once the PAR is approved by the IEEE-SA Standards Board.

The chair or the chair's delegate shall ask any patent holder or patent applicant of a Patent Claim that might be or become an Essential Patent Claim to complete and submit a Letter of Assurance PDF format in accordance with Clause 6 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws. Information about the draft standard will be made available upon request.

6.3.3 Inactive standards
All active IEEE standards are subject to periodic review for revision within ten years of IEEE-SA Standards Board approval or transfer to inactive status (see clauses 2.2 and 5.3 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws and 9.2). Thus, any standard that incorporates patented technology may at some point in time be transferred to inactive status. Clause 6 of the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws contains policies concerning the period of validity for any Letter of Assurance received from a party regarding an Essential Patent Claim.

6.3.4 Multiple Letters of Assurance and Blanket Letters of Assurance
A Submitter may provide the IEEE with a Blanket Letter of Assurance for a specific [Proposed] IEEE Standard that covers all Essential Patent Claims the Submitter may currently or in the future have the ability to license. A Submitter may submit separate Letters of Assurance providing different licensing positions for different potential Essential Patent Claims.

Over time, a Submitter may also provide multiple assurances for a given Patent Claim by submitting multiple Letters of Assurance for such claim. For Essential Patent Claims, each such Letter of Assurance shall be binding on the Submitter. Each potential licensee may choose to invoke the terms of any applicable Letter of Assurance accepted by the IEEE, with one exception: If a Submitter has signed and submitted a Letter of Assurance specifically identifying a Patent Claim before or concurrently with signing and submitting a Blanket Letter of Assurance, the Blanket Letter of Assurance cannot be invoked as to the specified Patent Claim. (The Submitter, however, may submit a separate specific Letter of Assurance offering the Blanket Letter of Assurance terms for the specified Patent Claim.) The intention of this paragraph is to permit the Submitter to offer alternative assurances, and to permit the potential licensee to choose from among the alternative assurances offered.

If, after providing a Blanket Letter of Assurance, the Submitter acquires an Essential Patent Claim or a controlling interest in an entity that owns or controls an Essential Patent Claim, the existing Submitter's Blanket Letter of Assurance shall apply to such acquired Essential Patent Claims unless the acquired entity or the prior holder of the acquired Essential Patent Claim has submitted a Letter of Assurance before the acquisition. Any Blanket Letter of Assurance submitted by the acquired entity or the prior holder of the acquired Essential Patent Claim before the acquisition shall continue to apply to acquired Essential Patent Claims covered by such assurance (but not to the acquirer's Essential Patent Claims). Letters of Assurance covering specified Essential Patent Claims shall continue to apply to specified Essential Patent Claims, whether acquired in the acquisition or held by the acquirer before the acquisition, as provided in this Operations Manual. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent an acquiring party from asking a seller of an acquired Essential Patent Claim or an acquired entity to submit additional Letters of Assurance before closing of the acquisition.

6.3.5 Applicability of Letters of Assurance to Amendments, Corrigenda, Editions, or Revisions
An Accepted Letter of Assurance referencing an existing standard, amendment, corrigendum, edition, or revision will remain in force for the application of the Essential Patent Claim(s) to the technology specified in another amendment, corrigendum, edition, or revision of the same IEEE Standard but only if (a) the application of the technology required by the amendment, corrigendum, edition, or revision of the same IEEE Standard has not changed from its previous usage and (b) the same Essential Patent Claims covered by the prior Accepted Letter of Assurance remain Essential Patent Claims in the same IEEE Standard or revision thereof.

The Working Group Chair shall initiate a request for a new Letter of Assurance from a known Submitter when re-using portions of, or technologies specified in, an existing [Proposed] IEEE Standard, amendment, corrigendum, edition, or revision referenced in an Accepted Letter of Assurance in a different [Proposed] IEEE Standard.

6.4 IEEE standard document structure

6.4.1 Normative and informative
Normative material is information required to implement the standard and is therefore officially part of the standard. Informative material is provided for information only and is therefore not officially part of the standard.

6.4.2 Frontmatter
The frontmatter of an IEEE standard is informative.

6.4.3 Notes and footnotes
Notes and footnotes are informative except as noted in subclauses 6.4.4 and 6.4.5.

The IEEE Standards Style Manual provides further information about notes and footnotes.

6.4.4 Notes to tables and footnotes to tables
A note to a table is informative. A footnote to a table is normative.

6.4.5 Notes to figures and footnotes to figures
A note to a figure is informative. A footnote to a figure is normative.

6.4.6 Normative references
Normative references are documents that contain additional material that is necessary to implement the standard. Thus, normative references are indispensable when applying the standard. Each normative reference shall be cited, and the role and relationship of each normative reference shall be explained in the body of the standard.

IEEE and other nationally or internationally recognized standards developing organizations (SDOs) are preferred as the source of normative references. Documents published by other organizations may be cited provided the document is publicly available at a cost that is not unreasonable at the date of publication of the IEEE standard. Documents that are cited as normative references, but that are developed by organizations that are not nationally or internationally recognized SDOs, shall include the edition or date of publication in the citation. References to standards that are not active are permitted, provided such standards are publicly available at the date of publication of the IEEE standard. Draft standards may be used as normative references if they are unambiguously dated, readily available, and retrievable at the date of publication of the IEEE standard. Please consult with an IEEE Standards project editor if such inclusion is necessary.

References to specific clauses or subclauses, tables, and figures of another document shall include the date of said document.

6.4.7 Shall, should, may, and can
The word shall indicates mandatory requirements strictly to be followed in order to conform to the standard and from which no deviation is permitted (shall equals is required to).

The word should indicates that among several possibilities one is recommended as particularly suitable, without mentioning or excluding others; or that a certain course of action is preferred but not necessarily required (should equals is recommended that).

The word may is used to indicate a course of action permissible within the limits of the standard (may equals is permitted to).

The word can is used for statements of possibility and capability, whether material, physical, or causal (can equals is able to).

Go to next clause