IEEE Standards Association
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (July 2010)|
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) is an organization within IEEE that develops global standards in a broad range of industries, including: power and energy, biomedical and health care, information technology and robotics, telecommunication and home automation, transportation, nanotechnology, information assurance, and many more.
IEEE-SA has developed standards for over a century, through a program that offers balance, openness, fair procedures, and consensus. Technical experts from all over the world participate in the development of IEEE standards.
IEEE-SA is not a body formally authorized by any government, but rather a community. Formally recognized international standards organizations (ISO, IEC, ITU, CEN) are federations of national standards bodies (American ANSI, German DIN, Japanese JISC, etc.).
Standards and the IEEE Standards Development Process
Each year, the IEEE-SA conducts over 200 standards ballots, a process by which proposed standards are voted upon for technical reliability and soundness. In 2005, IEEE had close to 900 active standards, with 500 standards under development.
One of the more notable are the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN group of standards, with the widely used computer networking standards for both wired (ethernet, aka IEEE 802.3) and wireless (IEEE 802.11 and IEEE 802.16) networks.
The IEEE standards development process can be broken down into seven basic steps:
- Securing Sponsorship: An IEEE-approved organization must sponsor a standard. A sponsoring organization is in charge of coordinating and supervising the standard development from inception to completion. The professional societies within IEEE serve as the natural sponsor for many standards.
- Requesting Project Authorization: To gain authorization for the standard a Project Authorization Request (PAR) is submitted to the IEEE-SA Standards Board. The New Standards Committee (NesCom) of the IEEE-SA Standards Board reviews the PAR and makes a recommendation to the Standards Board about whether to approve the PAR.
- Assembling a Working Group: After the PAR is approved, a working group of individuals affected by, or interested in, the standard is organized to develop the standard. IEEE-SA rules ensure that all Working Group meetings are open and that anyone has the right to attend and contribute to the meetings.
- Drafting the Standard: The Working Group prepares a draft of the proposed standard. Generally, the draft follows the IEEE Standards Style Manual that sets guidelines for the clauses and format of the standards document.
- Balloting: Once a draft of the standard is finalized in the Working Group, the draft is submitted for Balloting approval. The IEEE Standards Department sends an invitation-to-ballot to any individual who has expressed an interest in the subject matter of the standard. Anyone who responds positively to the invitation-to-ballot becomes a member of the balloting group, as long as the individual is an IEEE Standards Association member or has paid a balloting fee. The IEEE requires that a proposed draft of the standard receive a response rate of 75% (i.e., at least 75% of potential ballots are returned) and that, of the responding ballots, at least 75% approve the proposed draft of the standard. If the standard is not approved, the process returns to the drafting of the standard step in order to modify the standard document to gain approval of the balloting group.
- Review Committee: After getting 75% approval, the draft standard, along with the balloting comments, are submitted to the IEEE-SA Standards Board Review Committee (RevCom). The RevCom reviews the proposed draft of the standard against the IEEE-SA Standards Board Bylaws and the stipulations set forth in the IEEE-SA Standards Board Operations Manual. The RevCom then makes a recommendation about whether to approve the submitted draft of the standard document.
- Final Vote: Each member of the IEEE-SA Standards Board places a final vote on the submitted standard document. In some cases external members are invited to vote. It takes a majority vote of the Standards Board to gain final approval of the standard. In general, if the RevCom recommends approval, the Standards Board will vote to approve the standard.
The IEEE-SA Patent Policy
Because the IEEE's standards often incorporate technologies that are covered by one or more patent claims, the IEEE-SA has developed and added to its governing bylaws a patent policy to ensure both that the implementers using the standard-essential patented technology in their standard-compliant products have access to that technology and that the patent holders that voluntarily contribute those technologies to the standard receive adequate compensation for the implementers' use. An important part of the IEEE patent policy is the FRAND commitment, which is a voluntary contractual commitment signifying that a patent holder with patented technology that has been adopted into one of the IEEE's standards will accept as adequate compensation a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory royalty for third-party use of that technology. Most standard-setting organizations have developed similar patent policies with similar commitments.
In 2014, the IEEE-SA became the center of a large academic debate among economic and legal scholars when it appointed an ad hoc committee to recommend and subsequently draft amendments to the IEEE patent policy, to which the IEEE Board of Governors gave final approval in February 2015 and which went into effect in March 2015. The IEEE said that the reason for the amendments was to increase the clarity of the patent policy and the obligations that the patent policy's FRAND commitment imposes on patent holders seeking to enforce their standard-essential patents. One particularly controversial amendment was a provision that prohibited patent holders from seeking injunctions and exclusion orders (from the ITC) against infringers of standard-essential patents.
The Antitrust Division stated its support for the 2015 patent policy revisions in a business review letter that it issued in January 2015, upon request from the IEEE-SA. In the letter, the Antitrust Division said that the provisions would unambiguously produce net benefits for consumers with insignificant anticompetitive implications. At least one commentator has criticized the Antitrust Division's legal and economic analysis put forth in its business review letter of the revisions, claiming that the Antitrust Division exaggerated the patent policy's procompetitive benefits and wrongly dismissed as unlikely some of its potential anticompetitive costs.
Notable IEEE Standards committees and formats
|IEEE 260||Standard Letter Symbols for Units of Measurement, IEEE-260-1978 (now 260.1-2004).|
|IEEE 488||Standard Digital Interface for Programmable Instrumentation, IEEE-488-1978 (now 488.1).|
|IEEE 610||Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology.|
|IEEE 754||floating point arithmetic specifications.|
|IEEE 802.1||Standards for LAN/MAN bridging and management and remote media access control (MAC) bridging.|
|IEEE 802.2||Standards for Logical Link Control (LLC) standards for connectivity.|
|IEEE 802.3||Ethernet Standards for Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD).|
|IEEE 802.4||Standards for token passing bus access.|
|IEEE 802.5||Standards for token ring access and for communications between LANs and MANs|
|IEEE 802.6||Standards for information exchange between systems.|
|IEEE 802.7||Standards for broadband LAN cabling.|
|IEEE 802.8||Fiber optic connection.|
|IEEE 802.9||Standards for integrated services, like voice and data.|
|IEEE 802.10||Standards for LAN/MAN security implementations.|
|IEEE 802.11||Wireless Networking – "WiFi".|
|IEEE 802.12||Standards for demand priority access method.|
|IEEE 802.14||Standards for cable television broadband communications.|
|IEEE 802.15.4||Wireless Sensor/Control Networks – "ZigBee"|
|IEEE 802.15.6||Wireless Body Area Network (BAN) – (e.g. Bluetooth low energy)|
|IEEE 802.16||Wireless Networking – "WiMAX"|
|IEEE 802.24||Standards for Logical Link Control (LLC) standards for connectivity.|
|IEEE 828||Configuration Management in Systems and Software Engineering|
|IEEE 829||Software Test Documentation|
|IEEE 830||Software Requirements Specifications|
|IEEE 1003||Unix compatibility programming standard - POSIX|
|IEEE 1016||Software Design Description|
|IEEE 1028||Standard for Software Reviews and Audits|
|IEEE 1044.1||Standard Classification for Software Anomalies|
|IEEE 1059||Software Verification And Validation Plan|
|IEEE 1073||Point of Care Medical Device Communication Standards|
|IEEE 1074||Software Development Life Cycle|
|IEEE 1076||VHDL – VHSIC Hardware Description Language|
|IEEE 1180||Discrete cosine transform accuracy|
|IEEE 1233||System Requirements Specification|
|IEEE 1275||Open Firmware|
|IEEE 1284||Parallel port|
|IEEE P1363||Public key cryptography|
|IEEE 1394||Serial bus - "FireWire", "i.Link"|
|IEEE 1471||software architecture / system architecture|
|IEEE 1541||Prefixes for Binary Multiples|
|IEEE 1584||Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations|
|IEEE 1588||Precision Time Protocol|
|IEEE P1619||Security in Storage Working Group (SISWG)|
|IEEE 1667||Standard Protocol for Authentication in Host Attachments of Transient Storage Devices|
|IEEE 1801||Unified Power Format|
|IEEE 1900||Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySPAN)|
|IEEE 1901||Broadband over Power Line Networks|
|IEEE 2600||Hardcopy Device and System Security (and related ISO/IEC 15408 Protection Profiles)|
|IEEE 12207||Information Technology - Software life-cycle processes|
|IEEE Switchgear Committee||C37 series of standards for Low and High voltage equipment|
The IEEE Standard Association Award is presented annually to an IEEE-SA individual member (who is also an IEEE member) who has made an extraordinary contribution to establishing the IEEE-SA as a world-class leader in standardization. Recognition consists of a crystal globe and certificate.
- The Standards & the IEEE Standards Development Process section is based on information originally obtained from the IEEE and IEEE-SA websites, and the Appendix of the article "The Role of Market-Based and Committee-Based Standards," by Sanjiv Patel, Babson College 2002.
- Ulf-Daniel Ehlers, Jan Martin Pawlowski (2006). Handbook on quality and standardization in e-learning. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- http://standards.ieee.org/develop/policies/bylaws/sect6-7.html; J. Gregory Sidak, The Meaning of FRAND, Part II: Injunctions, 11 J. COMP. L. & ECON. 201, 211–12 (2015), https://www.criterioneconomics.com/meaning-of-frand-injunctions-for-standard-essential-patents.html.
- J. Gregory Sidak, The Meaning of FRAND, Part II: Injunctions, 11 J. COMP. L. & ECON. 201, 209–13 (2015), https://www.criterioneconomics.com/meaning-of-frand-injunctions-for-standard-essential-patents.html.
- European Telecommunication Standards Institute [ETSI], ETSI Intellectual Property Rights Policy, Annex 6, § 4.1–4.3 (Nov. 19, 2014), available at http://www.etsi.org/images/files/IPR/etsi-ipr-policy.pdf.
- Deepa Sundararaman, Inside the IEEE's Important Changes to Patent Policy, LAW360 (Apr. 3, 2015), http://www.law360.com/articles/637457/inside-the-ieee-s-important-changes-to-patent-policy.
- Letter from Michael A. Lindsay, Esp., Dorsey & Whitney LLP, to Honorable William J. Baer, Assistant Attorney General of Antitrust Division, Dep't of Justice at 9–11 (Sept. 30, 2014), http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/atr/legacy/2015/02/17/311483.pdf
- Business Review Letter to IEEE, http://www.justice.gov/atr/response-institute-electrical-and-electronics-engineers-incorporated.
- J. Gregory Sidak, The Antitrust Division's Devaluation of Standard-Essential Patents, 104 GEO. L.J. ONLINE 48 (2015), https://www.criterioneconomics.com/antitrust-divisions-devaluation-of-standard-essential-patents.html.