Frequently Asked Questions and Informational Material Regarding the SAWE Recommended Practice and ANSI Standards Activities

I would like to participate in an SAWE RP or ANSI standards development program but am unsure as to my responsibilities with respect to my employer as contrasted to what I may provide in an SAWE RP or ANSI/SAWE standards activity?

SAWE participates in the U.S. Government promoted activities to create “Voluntary Consensus Standards” For U.S. Government employees this work falls under NIST responsibility for development and tracking: http://www.nist.gov/standardsgov/ In the National Technology Transfer and Advancement act the U.S. Government recognizes Industry’s primary role in creating standards “the commercialization of technology and industrial innovation in the United States depends upon actions by business” The society seeks to assist all interested parties in creating quality consensus standards documents.

The American National Standards Institute, which SAWE follows the policies of in its standards development procedures, assures procedures are in place so that no particular party of interest is yielded undue control or that standards interest groups are out of balance. SAWE implements ANSI procedures in its standards development document SAWE TO-2 “SAWE Procedures as an Accredited Standards Developer with the American National Standards Institute “.

ANSI encourages Business, Professional Societies, Government agencies, and consumers to collaborate in standards development:


SAWE Recommended Practice developments require an open standards development environment which is restricted to SAWE members for participation. Procedures for SAWE creation of Recommended Practices is maintained in the SAWE Operating Handbook.

SAWE/ANSI Standards development activities have no membership requirement and are open to all interested parties.

SAWE encourages employers to permit their workforce to engage in the society’s consensus standards activities. It does not seek to utilize any corporate proprietary type of information, though corporate patented procedures can be used in a standard as addressed by the ANSI Essential Requirements and SAWE RP TO-2. All activities of the SAWE are strictly voluntary and in no way require or encourage the disclosure of proprietary or competitive information in any form. Protection and disclosure of such information is the responsibility of each participating member or guest and their respective employer.

Will all standards of the SAWE become international standards?

Since our recent accreditation as an ANSI standards developer, the SAWE now creates and maintains two standards type documents. First is the SAWE Recommended Practice (RP), which is a document created by SAWE Standards and Practices Industry Committees. RP’s include documents transitioned from the U.S. Military Standards program prior to the U.S. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 as well as documents created by the SAWE since the enactment of the NTTAA 1995 policy. Secondly, the SAWE was accredited in 2014 as an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) and can now create ANSI/SAWE standards. Also, by following the ANSI/SAWE standards development procedure, it becomes possible for an SAWE standard to become an ISO standard at the international level. However, not all standards will automatically go to this level. In the future the SAWE hopes to pursue recognition of selected standards at the international level. However, due to the cost, effort, and the time involved in navigating the complex process, the SAWE will selectively consider each standard individually. Some of the factors that will play a role such a decision will be:

  • Will the standard receive ANSI acceptance as a US national standard?
  • Does the standard address an area where no international standard exists currently?
  • Is the standard of enough significance that one of the ISO Technical Committees will support, an
  • Will the standard likely receive acceptance from all the member countries that need to vote in favor of it becoming an ISO standard.
I understand I may join SAWE as an individual or my employer corporation may join as a corporate partner and I may be on a standards consensus body under either of these circumstances?

Yes the SAWE Corporate Member, Corporate Partner program is explained here: https://www.sawe.org/about/membership/corporate . Certain company participation levels permit the company to appoint its employees to SAWE Board of Directors and/or standards development committees. When joining as an individual you also have the right to ask to be on a committee and/or an ANSI accredited Voluntary Consensus Body. Even non SAWE members will be solicited for participation in ANSI standards development activities as required by SAWE’s ANSI accreditation. Rules governing participation for SAWE Recommended Practices are set by the ANSI Committee in association by any requirements in the SAWE Operating Manual (available to members at: https://www.sawe.org/members/sawe/opsmanual ). Rules governing participation in development/maintenance of ANSI/SAWE standards are governed in SAWE TO-2.

What are my responsibilities with regard to Antitrust and Patent legalities if I participate on an SAWE Committee?

The SAWE is firmly committed to maintaining an environment free and clear of antitrust activities and members are reminded of the Societies guiding principles provided at: https://www.sawe.org/antitrust . SAWE Patent Policy use in standards adheres to ANSI Essential Requirements for Accredited Standards Developers and is addressed in SAWE RP TO-2 https://www.sawe.org/technical/rp/TO2. Responsibility for complying with all laws and regulations pertaining to antitrust lies with the individual members and non-member participants in SAWE activities and their employers. It is recommended that any issues regarding potential antitrust matters be discussed with the individual’s legal counsel prior to participation. The SAWE does not offer indemnification for the improper actions of its members or non-member participants.

The ANSI also provides educational material regarding patent and antitrust issues at: http://www.standardslearn.org/ short course “Legal Issues in Standard-Setting”.

Regarding intellectual property policies – who owns the IP contained in the standards, what rights do participants retain to any donated IP, what duties or obligations exist to declare existing patents and are patent searches required?

Standards under development through the SAWE adoption of Open Consensus Standards policies, as set forth by U.S. Standards strategy are meant to consist of information open and fully unrestricted in distribution and use. See the question above regarding ANSI and SAWE requirements when incorporating patented material into a consensus standard.

Regarding the standards development & approval process – who votes, how voting is conducted, what constitutes a majority, how are comments handled?

For recommended practices the voting process and consensus requirements are stated in the SAWE Operations Manual. For ANSI/SAWE standards development the voting process and consensus requirements are stated in the SAWE TO-2 and are fully compliant with the ANSI Essential Requirements.

Regarding terms for leaders at each level (how elected, how long they serve, who’s eligible to hold office)?

General SAWE organizational structure, election/appointment rules for the full organization are documented in the SAWE By-Laws. For ANSI/SAWE Standards activities the voting body makeup and consensus requirements are documented in SAWE TO-2. There is no requirement to be an SAWE member when working on an ANSI/SAWE consensus body.

What is a “consensus standard” and how does it come to be?

The term “consensus standard” aligns with global standards policies and with the change in U.S. Policy circa 1995 which placed less emphasis on government developed standards and requests government organizations to participate in and help replace such with openly developed “Voluntary Consensus Standards” ref: OMB A-119.

A “consensus standard” comes to be for SAWE, by following the practices defined by ANSI Essential Requirements for Accredited Standards Developers which SAWE has documented in  SAWE TO-2 “SAWE Procedures as an Accredited Standards Developer with the American National Standards Institute”.

Anyone/group can claim to create a “standard” but only ANSI Approved Accredited Standards Developers, which includes SAWE,  can create an ANSI standard. ANSI is the U.S. Member of the world standards organization ISO.  So ANSI ASD’s can create ISO Standards as well.

The world , thru ISO, The U.S. thru ANSI, and other “regions” [Germany – DIN, England – BSI and … https://www.iso.org/members.html ], and now SAWE all promote an open “Consensus Standards” approach to creating standards.  ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO, So SAWE as an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer can create an ANSI standard or promote it to be an ISO standard. ISO Standards are submitted by the ISO member body of the responsible organization, in our case ANSI.

You may contact the SAWE Deputy Chair for Standards and Practices for assistance in following the appropriate steps.

How does standards development work between the U.S. and embargoed countries?

Standards committees are encouraged to work only with public data so that all communications can remain open.

Ref. ANSI Excerpt from: and the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control


For its part, ANSI believes and advised OFAC in its earlier submission that information shared in the development of ISO standards is public as there are no restrictions to keep it confidential by those participating. In response to the different scenario API hypothesized, however, OFAC advised API that sharing “non-public technical data” with persons ordinarily resident in Iran, Cuba, Syria, or Sudan would similarly require a specific license from OFAC. (API Request | OFAC-API Response.)