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 lifecycle.

IEEE SA STANDARDS BOARD OPERATIONS MANUAL

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

6.1 Copyright
IEEE owns the copyright of draft IEEE standards 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.

The IEEE SA Copyright slide shall be either presented at the beginning of every IEEE SA standards development meeting, or distributed prior to the meeting along with the meeting agenda. If the slide is distributed with the meeting agenda, all meeting participants shall be informed at the beginning of the meeting that all material submitted during the meeting is a Contribution and is subject to the IEEE SA copyright policy. The presentation of the slide or the notice to meeting participants shall be documented in the minutes of the meeting.

6.1.1 Project Authorization Request (PAR) 

At the time a PAR is submitted for approval, any known previously Published material and/or Public Domain 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 to be inserted during comment resolution.

6.1.2 Contributions from previously Published sources 

Participants in an IEEE Standards group who intend to submit Contributions containing excerpted content from previously Published sources shall first notify the Chair of the need for permission, and should assist the Chair in obtaining that permission. The Working Group shall not accept as a Contribution, place on an IEEE server or standards developing group or activity document repository, or include in an IEEE document any material that was previously Published without first obtaining permission for use of the material from the copyright owner or a person with the authority or right to grant copyright permission. Working Group Chairs are responsible for requesting and obtaining permission from external entities and for forwarding the completed response forms to 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.

6.1.3.1 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.

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

6.1.3.2 Draft distribution bythe Working Group Chair
Participants in an active IEEE standards development project are entitled to receive a copy of draft standards produced by that project without charge. The Working Group Chair of the project determines whether an individual (for individual projects) or entity (for entity projects) meets the requirements for participation.

6.1.3.2.1 Sharing drafts with Working Group participants
Participants in an active IEEE standards development project are entitled to receive a copy of draft standards produced by that project without charge. The Working Group Chair of the project determines whether an individual (for individual projects) or entity (for entity projects) meets the requirements for participation.

6.1.3.2.2 Sharing drafts with IEEE SA Working Groups and IEEE Standards Committees
When sharing the draft with another IEEE SA Working Group or IEEE Standards Committee, an appropriate cover page shall be included and is available from the IEEE SA Program Manager. The Working Group Chair shall copy their Standards Committee Chair, IEEE SA Program Manager, and IEEE SA IPR Staff.

6.1.3.3 Draft distribution for adoption consideration
If a Working Group intends to coordinate drafts of a project for possible adoption of the approved standard by a national, regional, or international standards-developing organization, the Standards Committee and Working Group Chair shall jointly develop a plan with the IEEE Standards Department. IEEE may require an agreement prior to any adoption.

6.1.3.4 Draft distribution for coordination with organizations external to IEEE
If a Working Group intends to coordinate drafts of a project with a standards-developing organization or technical organization external to IEEE involved in the technology covered by that project, the Standards Committee and Working Group Chair shall work with the IEEE Standards Department to establish the draft sharing relationship. Once the draft sharing relationship has been established, the Working Group Chair may share drafts with the organization external to IEEE for coordination and shall inform the IEEE SA Program Manager and IEEE SA IPR Staff. The Working Group Chair shall immediately inform the IEEE SA Program Manager when the draft sharing relationship is no longer needed.

All drafts submitted to organizations external to IEEE shall have as its cover page the IEEE SA draft sharing cover letter that outlines the IEEE copyright and permitted uses. The IEEE SA draft sharing cover letter is available from the IEEE Standards Department.

6.1.3.5 Other draft distribution
Requests for drafts other than described in subclauses 6.1.3.2 - 6.1.3.4 shall be directed to the IEEE Standards Department.

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. In connection with standards that relate to the determination of whether products or services conform to one or more standards, the process or criteria for determining conformity can be standardized as long as the description of the process or criteria (a) is limited to technical or engineering concerns and does not include what would otherwise be a commercial term, and (b) does not provide for testing conformance with any commercial terms.

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 a Standards Committee 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 a Standards Committee 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) 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 revision or inactivation. Standards that have not completed revision within ten years of IEEE SA Standards Board approval are subject to 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 only when the LOA indicates licensing assurance. 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).

6.4.8 Assigned numbers or names
A draft that defines any of the following items, for which any instance is intended to be allocated independent of approval in an IEEE standard, shall define the rules of such allocation:

  • Namespaces
  • Listings of products, services, entities, or objects
  • Assignment of unique identifiers
  • Assignment of unique numbers

In such instances, the draft and the rules for allocation shall be subject to mandatory coordination (see 5.4.4).

6.5 Open Source
Open Source is a digital work for which the human-readable source code is available – in the preferred form for making modifications – for use, study, re-use, modification, enhancement, and re-distribution by the users. Open Source applies to software and hardware, which may include computer code, hardware designs, data, documentation, documents, and other digital objects. Other Open Source terms are defined in Clause 2 of the IEEE SA Board of Governors Open Source Committee Operations Manual.

The Standards Committee and Working Group shall comply with IEEE Open Source policies and procedures, and with policies of the IEEE Open Source Platform in developing IEEE Open Source for incorporation into a standard. All IEEE Open Source incorporated in an IEEE standard shall be hosted on the IEEE Open Source Platform.

6.5.1 Project authorization
Use of the IEEE Open Source Platform for development of Open Source incorporated into an IEEE standard requires approval by the responsible committee of the IEEE SA Board of Governors. If a Standards Committee or Working Group intends to develop Open Source to be incorporated in an IEEE standard, the Standards Committee or Working Group shall indicate this intent to the responsible committee of the IEEE SA Board of Governors.

Open Source developed for incorporation into an IEEE standard shall be developed under a single approved open source license. Changes to this open source license are discouraged and shall be approved by the responsible committee of the IEEE SA Board of Governors. If the license is changed, then appropriate Contributor License Agreements (CLAs) for the new open source license shall be obtained from all previous Contributors prior to publicly indicating a change in the license on the IEEE Open Source Platform. The open source license shall not be changed once the Standards Association ballot has begun.

A PAR Study Group shall not develop Open Source.

6.5.2 Governance of IEEE Open Source Projects incorporated in IEEE standards

Development and maintenance of the technical content (including code, documentation, and open source hardware) of IEEE Open Source Projects incorporated in an IEEE standard are the responsibility of the Standards Committee and its Working Groups. This responsibility continues as long as the standard is active. A Standards Committee may form one or more Open Source subgroups that coordinate Open Source development for multiple Working Groups under that Standards Committee, or delegate responsibility to the applicable Working Group to establish its own Open Source subgroup. Each Open Source subgroup shall comply with all IEEE Open Source policies and procedures, and all policies of the IEEE Open Source Platform.

An Open Source subgroup shall be led by an IEEE Open Source Project Lead who shall be designated as an officer of the responsible Standards Committee or Working Group. The IEEE Open Source Project Lead is responsible for the vitality, organization, development, evaluation, operation, security, and maintenance of an IEEE Open Source Project. The IEEE Open Source Project Lead is the point of contact for the IEEE Open Source Platform team regarding technical and administrative matters.

Each IEEE Open Source Project developed by the Standards Committee or Working Group to be incorporated in an IEEE standard shall have at least one Maintainer, who may be the IEEE Open Source Project Lead. Maintainers have the authority to commit (save changes) to the IEEE code and document repository associated with an IEEE Open Source Project, and to assign Committers. Maintainers shall be a member of the Standards Committee or Working Group responsible for the project and shall be an IEEE member of any grade and a member of IEEE SA. Committers shall be members of the Standards Committee or Working Group responsible for the project and shall be responsible for committing code to the IEEE code and document repository associated with an IEEE Open Source Project.

The IEEE Open Source Project Lead and Maintainer(s) shall be responsible for coordinating the development of Open Source with the Working Group and comment resolution group, and obtaining applicable CLAs for all Contributions to the IEEE Open Source Project.

6.5.2.1 Open Source Contributors
An IEEE Open Source Contributor is any person who submits any material to an IEEE Open Source Project, whether as an individual or on behalf of an organization. All contributors to an IEEE Open Source Project incorporated in an IEEE standard shall submit a CLA for the license used by such project.

6.5.2.2 Application of patent policy
The IEEE SA patent policy applies to Open Source that is incorporated in a standard, even if a CLA has been submitted. IEEE does not determine whether there is consistency between Letters of Assurance and CLAs. A call for patents notice shall be posted on the IEEE Open Source Platform in the area where CLAs are submitted for all IEEE Open Source that is developed and incorporated normatively or informatively in a draft or approved standard.

The IEEE Open Source Platform, in the area where CLAs are submitted, shall have a link to Accepted Letters of Assurance, as well as to appropriate sections of the IEEE SA Standards Board Bylaws and IEEE SA Standards Board Operations Manual relating to intellectual property.

The IEEE Standards website shall make available information about all Accepted CLAs for IEEE Open Source incorporated in an IEEE standard, and information about Accepted CLAs shall also be available where Accepted Letters of Assurance are posted on the website.

6.5.2.3 Incorporation of Open Source in standards
IEEE standards may incorporate the use of Open Source:

-- Normatively, where use of the Open Source is required when implementing the standard; or

-- Informatively, where the Open Source is provided for information only, and not required for implementation.

All IEEE standards that incorporate Open Source should indicate this fact in the scope of the standard; and shall identify in the text of the standard the appropriate use of the Open Source for compliance with the standard (e.g., whether the use is normative or informative), and the location of the software code and documentation in the repository on the IEEE Open Source Platform.

Normatively referenced Open Source without a specific version shall not be duplicated in the text of the draft standard unless it is marked as an Example.

Informative documentation shall be included in the published standard (e.g., as an Annex) explaining how to access and run the Open Source. The form of this documentation shall comply with the IEEE Standards Style Manual, and files provided to IEEE Standards Editorial Staff shall be compliant with requirements for standards publication.

IEEE Open Source that is developed by the Standards Committee or Working Group and incorporated in a draft IEEE standard that is published prior to approval of the standard by the IEEE SA Standards Board shall include IEEE SA disclaimer text (see the IEEE Standards Style Manual) on the IEEE Open Source Platform and in all IEEE Open Source in the repository for the IEEE Open Source Project.

The guidance on references listed in the IEEE Standards Style Manual applies to normative and informative references to Open Source. A reference shall specify one or more source code libraries within a specified project in a specified code repository. A reference may specify one or more specific versions, including “the most current version,” of each library.

Normative use of Open Source is discouraged, unless required for accuracy, functionality, safety, security, or compatibility. Open Source that is incorporated normatively without referencing specific version(s) (i.e., it is undated) shall be made available and maintained on the IEEE Open Source Platform. This restriction does not apply to informative references.

If an IEEE standard normatively references a specific version of the Open Source (i.e., it is a dated reference), the version can be changed only through a revision of the standard, or an amendment or corrigendum to the standard, unless the changes are required by IEEE for the secure and productive operation of the IEEE Open Source Platform. The restriction on published amendments (see 8.1.2) does not apply for amendments that are intended only to update Open Source or references to Open Source.

For normatively referenced Open Source that does not have a specific version, the Standards Committee or Working Group shall review updates to the Open Source during the standards development process and should review updates to the Open Source after IEEE SA Standards Board approval to determine if the software continues to align with the standard. If the software does not align with the standard, the Standards Committee or Working Group shall take appropriate action, for example, if a dated reference should be noted in the standard instead, submit a PAR for revision or amendment to the standard.

6.5.3 Mandatory coordination
During mandatory coordination, the Standards Committee shall include all IEEE Open Source developed by the Working Group and incorporated in the draft. The IEEE Open Source Community Manager and IEEE SA IPR Staff shall review the IEEE Open Source, CLAs, and associated documentation prior to initial Standards Association ballot. Mandatory coordination comments by the IEEE Open Source Community Manager and IEEE SA IPR Staff shall be addressed prior to initial Standards Association ballot.

6.5.4 Standards Association ballot and IEEE Public Review
All IEEE draft standards that incorporate Open Source developed by an IEEE Working Group shall provide notification during the invitation to ballot and on the IEEE Public Review site that (a) the IEEE draft standard incorporates Open Source developed by the Working Group, (b) applicable CLA(s) are required for any Contributions to IEEE Open Source Projects developed by the Working Group and incorporated in an IEEE standard, and (c) template CLAs are available, with links to the applicable CLA templates.

During the Standards Association ballot, balloters shall be granted access to view any referenced Open Source. After the initiation of the Standards Association ballot process, any IEEE Open Source Projects developed by the Working Group and incorporated in an IEEE standard shall only be updated to reflect changes approved by the ballot group or required by IEEE for the secure and productive operation of the IEEE Open Source Platform.

The IEEE Open Source Project Lead and at least one Maintainer shall be members of the comment resolution group.

Any comment that provides modifications to an IEEE Open Source Project developed by the Working Group and incorporated in an IEEE standard may not be implemented in the IEEE Open Source or the draft standard and may not be considered unless an applicable CLA was previously submitted to IEEE. The IEEE Open Source Project Lead and Maintainer are responsible for obtaining all CLAs prior to the start of any initial Standards Association ballot or recirculation ballot.

Once the Standards Association ballot is completed for a draft standard, the incorporated IEEE Open Source developed by the Working Group shall not be updated until after IEEE SA Standards Board approval, and then only if the IEEE Open Source is undated.

IEEE Public Review commenters shall be granted access to view any Open Source incorporated in an IEEE standard. Any public review comments that provide modifications to IEEE Open Source developed by the Working Group may not be implemented in the IEEE Open Source or in the draft IEEE standard and may not be considered unless an applicable CLA was previously submitted to IEEE.

6.5.5 Release and maintenance of Open Source
Final release of IEEE Open Source Projects developed by the Standards Committee or Working Group and incorporated in an IEEE standard shall occur only after approval of the standard by the IEEE SA Standards Board, and the IEEE Open Source Projects incorporated in an IEEE standard shall be included in the official IEEE listing. After the standard is approved, only Open Source that does not have a specific version (undated) may be updated without requiring a revision of the standard, or an amendment or corrigendum (see 8.1.2). Normatively referenced Open Source that is undated may be updated only with approval from the Standards Committee, Working Group, or a subgroup delegated with that responsibility, unless the changes are required by IEEE for the secure and productive operation of the IEEE Open Source Platform.

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