Internet Draft                               Internet Architecture Board
                                                     Lyman Chapin, Chair
                                                           November 1992
                                                       Expires: May 1993

                     Draft revision to RFC-1310 --

                     The Internet Standards Process

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet Draft.  Internet Drafts are working
   documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its Areas,
   and its Working Groups.  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet Drafts.  Internet Drafts are draft
   documents valid for a maximum of six months.  Internet Drafts may be
   updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time.  It
   is not appropriate to use Internet Drafts as reference material or to
   cite them other than as a ``working draft'' or ``work in progress.''
   Please check the 1id-abstracts.txt listing contained in the
   internet-drafts Shadow Directories on,,,, or to learn the
   current status of any Internet Draft.


   This memo is a draft of the first update to RFC-1310, which documents
   the current standards procedures in the Internet community.  This
   memo is being distributed for comment from the Internet community.

   Major changes in this update include the following:

   (a)  Add Prototype Status

   (b)  Rewrite the Intellectual Property Rights section, to incorporate
        legal advice.  Section 5 of this document replaces Sections 5
        and 6 of RFC-1310.

   (c)  Describe new procedures, e.g., the IESG "last call".

   (d)  Incorporate many suggestions made by IETF members.

   Significant content changes from RFC-1310 are noted with change bars.
   In addition, there are many stylistic changes and some

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   1.  INTRODUCTION .................................................  2
      1.1. Internet Standards .......................................  2
      1.2. Organization .............................................  4
      1.3. Standards-Related Publications ...........................  5
         1.3.1. Requests for Comments (RFCs) ........................  5
         1.3.2. Internet Drafts .....................................  6
      1.4. Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) ................  6
   2.  NOMENCLATURE .................................................  7
      2.1. The Internet Standards Track .............................  7
      2.2. Types of Specifications ..................................  7
      2.3. Standards Track Maturity Levels ..........................  9
      2.4. Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels ...................... 10
      2.5. Requirement Levels ....................................... 12
   3.  THE INTERNET STANDARDS PROCESS ............................... 13
      3.1. Review and Approval ...................................... 13
      3.2. Entering the Standards Track ............................. 15
      3.3. Advancing in the Standards Track ......................... 15
      3.4. Revising a Standard ...................................... 16
      3.5. Retiring a Standard ...................................... 16
   4.  EXTERNAL STANDARDS AND SPECIFICATIONS ........................ 15
   5.  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS ................................. 18
      5.1. Trade Secret Rights ...................................... 19
      5.2. Patent Rights ............................................ 19
   6.  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND REFERENCES ............................... 21
   APPENDIX A: GLOSSARY ............................................. 22
   APPENDIX B: CONTACT POINTS ....................................... 22

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   1.1  Internet Standards.

      This memo documents the process currently used by the Internet      |
      Society for the standardization of Internet protocols and           |

      The Internet, a loosely-organized international collaboration of
      autonomous, interconnected networks, supports host-to-host
      communication through voluntary adherence to open protocols and
      procedures defined by Internet Standards.  There are also many
      isolated internets, i.e., sets of interconnected networks, that
      are not connected to the Internet but use the Internet Standards.
      The architecture and technical specifications of the Internet are
      the result of numerous research and development activities
      conducted over a period of two decades, performed by the network
      R&D community, by service and equipment vendors, and by government
      agencies around the world.

      In general, an Internet Standard is a specification that is stable
      and well-understood, is technically competent, has multiple,
      independent, and interoperable implementations with substantial
      operational experience, enjoys significant public support, and is
      recognizably useful in some or all parts of the Internet.

      The principal set of Internet Standards is commonly known as the
      "TCP/IP protocol suite".  As the Internet evolves, new protocols
      and services, in particular those for Open Systems Interconnection
      (OSI), have been and will be deployed in traditional TCP/IP
      environments, leading to an Internet that supports multiple
      protocol suites.  This document concerns all protocols,
      procedures, and conventions intended for use in the Internet, not
      just the TCP/IP protocols.

      The procedures described in this document are intended to provide
      a clear, open, and objective basis for developing, evaluating, and
      adopting Internet Standards for protocols and services.  The
      procedures provide ample opportunity for participation and comment
      by all interested parties.  Before an Internet Standard is
      adopted, it is repeatedly discussed (and perhaps debated) in open
      meetings and/or public electronic mailing lists, and it is
      available for review via world-wide on-line directories.

      These procedures are explicitly aimed at developing and adopting
      generally-accepted practices.  Thus, a candidate for Internet
      standardization is implemented and tested for correct operation
      and interoperability by multiple, independent parties, and

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      utilized in increasingly demanding environments, before it can be
      adopted as an Internet Standard.

      The procedures that are described here provide a great deal of
      flexibility to adapt to the wide variety of circumstances that
      occur in the Internet standardization process.  Experience has
      shown this flexibility to be vital in achieving the following
      goals for Internet standardization:

      *    high quality,

      *    prior implementation and testing,

      *    openness and fairness, and

      *    timeliness.

      In outline, the process of creating an Internet Standard is
      straightforward: a specification undergoes a period of development
      and several iterations of review by the Internet community and
      revision based upon experience, is adopted as a Standard by the
      appropriate body (see below), and is published.

      In practice, the process is more complicated, due to (1) the
      number and type of possible sources for specifications; (2) the     |
      difficulty of creating specifications of high technical quality;
      (3) the desire to preserve the interests of all of the affected
      parties; (4) the importance of establishing widespread community
      consensus; and (5) the difficulty of evaluating the utility of a
      particular specification for the Internet community.

      Some specifications that are candidates for Internet
      standardization are the result of organized efforts directly
      within the Internet community; others are the result of work that
      was not originally organized as an Internet effort, but which was
      later adopted by the Internet community.

      From its inception, the Internet has been, and is expected to
      remain, an evolving system whose participants regularly factor new
      requirements and technology into its design and implementation.
      Users of the Internet and providers of the equipment, software,
      and services that support it should anticipate and embrace this
      evolution as a major tenet of Internet philosophy.

      The procedures described in this document are the result of three
      years of evolution, driven both by the needs of the growing and
      increasingly diverse Internet community, and by experience.
      Comments and suggestions are invited for improvement in these

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      The remainder of this section describes the organizations and       |
      publications involved in Internet standardization.  Section 2       |
      presents the nomenclature for different kinds and levels of         |
      Internet standard technical specifications and their                |
      applicability.  Section 3 describes the process and rules for       |
      Internet standardization.  Section 4 defines how relevant           |
      externally-sponsored specifications and practices, developed and    |
      controlled by other standards bodies or by vendors, are handled in  |
      the Internet standardization process.  Section 5 presents the       |
      rules that are required to protect intellectual property rights.

   1.2  Organization

      The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) is the primary coordinating
      committee for Internet design, engineering, and management [1].
      The The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has primary
      responsibility for the development and review of potential
      Internet Standards from all sources.  The IETF forms Working
      Groups to pursue specific technical issues, frequently resulting
      in the development of one or more specifications that are proposed
      for adoption as Internet Standards.

      Final decisions on Internet standardization are made by the IAB,
      based upon recommendations from the Internet Engineering Steering
      Group (IESG), the leadership body of the IETF.  IETF Working
      Groups are organized into areas, and each area is coordinated by
      an Area Director.  The Area Directors and the IETF Chairman are
      included in the IESG.

      Any member of the Internet community with the time and interest is
      urged to attend IETF meetings and to participate actively in one
      or more IETF Working Groups.  Participation is by individual
      technical contributors rather than formal representatives of
      organizations.  The process works because the IETF Working Groups
      display a spirit of cooperation as well as a high degree of
      technical maturity; IETF members recognize that the greatest
      benefit for all members of the Internet community results from
      cooperative development of technically superior protocols and

      A second body, the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF),
      investigates topics considered to be too uncertain, too advanced,
      or insufficiently well-understood to be the subject of Internet
      standardization.  When an IRTF activity generates a specification
      that is sufficiently stable to be considered for Internet
      standardization, the specification is processed through the using

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      the rules in this document.

   1.3. Standards-Related Publications

      1.3.1.  Requests for Comments (RFCs)

         Each distinct version of a specification is published as part
         of the "Request for Comments" (RFC) document series.  This
         series is the official publication channel for the IAB and its
         activities, and the RFC Editor is a member of the IAB.

         RFCs form a series of publications of networking technical
         documents, begun in 1969 as part of the original DARPA wide-
         area networking (ARPANET) project (see Appendix A for glossary
         of acronyms).  RFCs cover a wide range of topics, from early
         discussion of new research concepts to status memos about the

         The rules for formatting and submitting an RFC are defined in    |
         reference [10].  Every RFC will be available in ASCII text, but  |
         some RFCs will also be available in Postscript.  For             |
         standards-track specifications, there is a stricter requirement  |
         on the publication format: the ASCII version is the reference    |
         document, and therefore it must be complete and accurate.  A     |
         supplemental Postscript versin with more attractive formatting   |
         is optional in this case.

         The status of specifications on the Internet standards track is
         summarized periodically in an RFC entitled "IAB Official
         Protocol Standards" [2].  This RFC shows the level of maturity
         and other helpful information for each Internet protocol or
         service specification.

         *   The "IAB Official Protocol Standards" RFC is the   *
         *   authoritative statement of the current status of   *
         *   any particular Internet specification.             *

         The STD documents form a subseries of the RFC series.  When a
         specification has been adopted as an Internet Standard, its RFC
         is labeled with a STDxxx number [9] in addition to its RFC

         Not all specifications of protocols or services for the
         Internet should or will become Internet Standards.  Such non-
         standards track specifications are not subject to the rules for
         Internet standardization; generally, they will be published

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         directly as RFCs at the discretion of the RFC editor and the     |
         IESG.  These RFCs will be marked as "Prototype", "Experimental"  |
         or "Informational" (see section 2.3).

         *   It is important to remember that not all RFCs      *
         *   are standards track documents, and that not all    *
         *   standards track documents reach the level of       *
         *   Internet Standard.                                 *

      1.3.2.  Internet Drafts

         During the development of a specification, draft versions of
         the document are made available for informal review and comment
         by placing them in the IETF's "Internet Drafts" directory,
         which is replicated on a number of Internet hosts.  This makes
         an evolving working document readily available to a wide
         audience, facilitating the process of review and revision.

         An Internet Draft that is published as an RFC, or that has
         remained unchanged in the Internet Drafts directory for more
         than six months without being recommended by the IESG for
         publication as an RFC, is simply removed from the Internet
         Draft directory.  At any time, an Internet Draft may be
         replaced by a more recent version of the same specification,
         restarting the six-month timeout period.

         An Internet Draft is NOT a means of "publishing" a
         specification; specifications are published through the RFC
         mechanism described in the next section.  Internet Drafts have
         no formal status, and are not part of the permanent archival
         record of Internet activity, and they are subject to change or
         removal at any time.  Under no circumstances should an Internet
         Draft be referenced by any paper, report, or Request for
         Proposal, nor should a vendor claim compliance with an           |

   1.4.  Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA)

      Many protocol specifications include numbers, keywords, and other
      parameters that must be uniquely assigned.  Examples include
      version numbers, protocol numbers, port numbers, and MIB numbers.
      The IAB has delegated to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
      (IANA) the task of assigning such protocol parameters for the
      Internet.  The IANA publishes tables of all currently assigned
      numbers and parameters in RFCs titled "Assigned Numbers" [8].

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      Each category of assigned numbers typically arises from some
      protocol that is on the standards track or is an Internet
      Standard.  For example, TCP port numbers are assigned because TCP
      is a Standard.  A particular value within a category may be
      assigned in a variety of circumstances; the specification
      requiring the parameter may be in the standards track, it may be
      Experimental, or it may be private.

      Chaos could result from accidental conflicts of parameter values,
      so we urge that every protocol parameter, for either public or
      private usage, be explicitly assigned by the IANA.  Private
      protocols often become public.  Programmers are often tempted to
      choose a "random" value or to guess the next unassigned value of a
      parameter; both are hazardous.

      The IANA is tasked to avoid frivolous assignments and to
      distinguish different assignments uniquely.  The IANA accomplishes
      both goals by requiring a technical description of each protocol
      or service to which a value is to be assigned.  Judgment on the
      adequacy of the description resides with the IANA.  In the case of
      a standards track or Experimental protocol, the corresponding
      technical specifications provide the required documentation for
      IANA.  For a proprietary protocol, the IANA will keep confidential
      any writeup that is supplied, but at least a short (2 page)
      writeup is still required for an assignment.


   2.1.  The Internet Standards Track

      Specifications that are destined to become Internet Standards
      evolve through a set of maturity levels known as the "standards
      track".  These maturity levels -- "Proposed Standard", "Draft
      Standard", and "Standard" -- are defined and discussed below in
      Section 3.2.

      Even after a specification has been adopted as an Internet
      Standard, further evolution often occurs based on experience and
      the recognition of new requirements.  The nomenclature and
      procedures of Internet standardization provide for the replacement
      of old Internet Standards with new ones, and the assignment of
      descriptive labels to indicate the status of "retired" Internet
      Standards.  A set of maturity levels is defined in Section 3.3 to
      cover these and other "off-track" specifications.

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   2.2.  Types of Specifications

      Specifications subject to the Internet standardization process
      fall into two categories:  Technical Specifications (TS) and
      Applicability Statements (AS).

      2.2.1.  Technical Specification (TS)

         A Technical Specification is any description of a protocol,
         service, procedure, convention, or format.  It may completely
         describe all of the relevant aspects of its subject, or it may
         leave one or more parameters or options unspecified.  A TS may
         be completely self-contained, or it may incorporate material
         from other specifications by reference to other documents
         (which may or may not be Internet Standards).

         A TS shall include a statement of its scope and the general
         intent for its use (domain of applicability).  Thus, a TS that
         is inherently specific to a particular context shall contain a
         statement to that effect.  However, a TS does not specify
         requirements for its use within the Internet; these
         requirements, which depend on the particular context in which
         the TS is incorporated by different system configurations, is
         defined by an Applicability Statement.

      2.2.2.  Applicability Statement (AS)

         An Applicability Statement specifies how, and under what
         circumstances, one or more TSs are to be applied to support a
         particular Internet capability. An AS may specify uses for TSs
         that are not Internet Standards, as discussed in Section 4.

         An AS identifies the relevant TSs and the specific way in which
         they are to be combined, and may also specify particular values
         or ranges of TS parameters or subfunctions of a TS protocol
         that must be implemented.  An AS also specifies the
         circumstances in which the use of a particular TS is required,
         recommended, or elective.

         An AS may describe particular methods of using a TS in a
         restricted "domain of applicability", such as Internet routers,
         terminal servers, Internet systems that interface to Ethernets,
         or datagram-based database servers.

         The broadest type of AS is a comprehensive conformance
         specification, commonly called a "requirements document", for a
         particular class of Internet systems [3,4,5], such as Internet
         routers or Internet hosts.

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         An AS may not have a higher maturity level in the standards
         track than any TS to which the AS applies.  For example, a TS
         at Draft Standard level may be referenced by an AS at the
         Proposed Standard or Draft Standard level, but not an AS at the
         Standard level.  Like a TS, an AS does not come into effect
         until it reaches Standard level.

      Although TSs and ASs are conceptually separate, in practice an
      Internet Standard RFC may include elements of both an AS and one
      or more TSs in a single document.  For example, Technical
      Specifications that are developed specifically and exclusively for
      some particular domain of applicability, e.g., for mail server
      hosts, often contain within a single specification all of the
      relevant AS and TS information.  In such cases, no useful purpose
      would be served by deliberately distributing the information among
      several documents just to preserve the formal AS/TS distinction.
      However, a TS that is likely to apply to more than one domain of
      applicability should be developed in a modular fashion, to
      facilitate its incorporation by multiple ASs.

   2.3.  Standards Track Maturity Levels

      ASs and TSs go through stages of development, testing, and
      acceptance.  Within the Internet standards process, these stages
      are formally labeled "maturity levels".

      This section describes the maturity levels and the expected
      characteristics of specifications at each level.  The general
      procedures for developing a specification and processing it
      through the maturity levels along the standards track were
      discussed in Section 2 above.

      2.3.1. Proposed Standard

         The entry-level maturity for the standards track is "Proposed
         Standard".  A Proposed Standard specification is generally
         stable, has resolved known design choices, is believed to be
         well-understood, has received significant community review, and
         appears to enjoy enough community interest to be considered
         valuable.  However, further experience might result in a change
         or even retraction of the specification before it advances to a

         Usually, neither implementation nor operational experience is
         required for the designation of a specification as a Proposed
         Standard.  However, such experience is highly desirable, and
         will usually represent a strong argument in favor of a Proposed
         Standard designation.  Furthermore, the IAB may require

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         implementation and/or operational experience prior to granting
         Proposed Standard status to a specification that materially
         affects the core Internet protocols or that specifies behavior
         that may have significant operational impact on the Internet.
         Typically, such a specification will be published initially
         with Experimental or Prototype status (see below), and moved to
         the standards track only after sufficient implementation or
         operational experience has been obtained.

         A Proposed Standard should have no known technical omissions
         with respect to the requirements placed upon it.  In some
         cases, the IESG may recommend that the requirements be
         explicitly reduced in order to allow a protocol to advance into
         the Proposed Standard state.  This can happen if the
         specification is considered to be useful and necessary (and
         timely), even absent the missing features.  For example, some
         protocols have been advanced by explicitly deciding to omit
         security features at the Proposed Standard level, since an
         overall security architecture was still under development.

      2.3.2. Draft Standard

         A specification from which at least two independent and
         interoperable implementations have been developed, and for
         which sufficient successful operational experience has been
         obtained, may be elevated to the "Draft Standard" level.  This
         is a major advance in status, indicating a strong belief that
         the specification is mature and will be useful.

         A Draft Standard must be well-understood and known to be quite
         stable, both in its semantics and as a basis for developing an
         implementation.  A Draft Standard may still require additional
         or more widespread field experience, since it is possible for
         implementations based on Draft Standard specifications to
         demonstrate unforeseen behavior when subjected to large-scale
         use in production environments.

      2.3.3. Internet Standard

         A specification for which significant implementation and
         successful operational experience has been obtained may be
         elevated to the Internet Standard level.  An Internet Standard
         (which may simply be referred to as a Standard) is
         characterized by a high degree of technical maturity and by a
         generally held belief that the specified protocol or service
         provides significant benefit to the Internet community.

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   2.4. Non-Standards Track Maturity Levels

      Not every TS or AS is on the standards track.  A TS may not be
      intended to be an Internet Standard, or it may be intended for
      eventual standardization but not yet ready to enter the standards
      track.  A TS or AS may have been superseded by more recent
      Internet Standards, or have otherwise fallen into disuse or

      Specifications not on the standards track are labeled with one of
      four off-track maturity levels: "Prototype, "Experimental",         |
      "Informational", and "Historic".  There are no time limits          |
      associated with these non-standard track labels, and the documents  |
      bearing these labels are not standards in any sense.

      2.4.1.  Prototype                                                   |

         The "Prototype" designation on a TS indicates a specification    |
         produced by a protocol engineering effort that is not            |
         sufficiently mature to enter the standards track.  For example,  |
         a Prototype TS may specify behavior that is not completely       |
         understood, or it may have known technical omissions or          |
         architectural defects.  It may undergo significant changes       |
         before entering the standards track, and it may be discarded in  |
         favor of another proposal.  One use of the Prototype             |
         designation is the dissemination of a specification as it        |
         undergoes development and testing.                               |

         A Prototype specification will generally be the output of an     |
         organized Internet engineering effort, for example a Working     |
         Group of the IETF.  An IETF Working Group should submit a        |
         document that is intended for Prototype status to the IESG.      |
         The IESG will forward it to the RFC Editor for publication,      |
         after verifying that there has been adequate coordination with   |
         the standards process.                                           |

      2.4.2. Experimental                                                 |

         The "Experimental" designation on a TS indicates a               |
         specification that is part of a research effort.  Such a         |
         specification is published for general information of the        |
         Internet technical community and as an archival record of the    |
         work.  An Experimental specification may be the output of an     |
         organized Internet research effort or it may be an individual    |
         contribution.                                                    |

         Documents intended for Experimental status should be submitted   |
         directly to the RFC Editor for publication.  The rules are       |

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         intended to expedite the publication of any responsible          |
         Experimental specification, subject only to editorial            |
         considerations, and to a check that there has been adequate      |
         coordination with the standards process.

      2.4.3. Informational

         An "Informational" specification is published for the general
         information of the Internet community, and does not represent
         an Internet community consensus or recommendation.

         Specifications that have been prepared outside of the Internet
         community and are not incorporated into the Internet standards
         process by any of the provisions of Section 4 may be published
         as Informational RFCs, with the permission of the owner.

      2.4.4. Historic

         A TS or AS that has been superseded by a more recent
         specification or is for any other reason considered to be
         obsolete is assigned to the "Historic" level.  (Purists have
         suggested that the word should be "Historical"; however, at
         this point the use of "Historic" is historical.)

   2.5.  Requirement Levels

      An AS may apply one of the following "requirement levels" to each
      of the TSs to which it refers:

      (a)  Required:  Implementation of the referenced TS, as specified
           by the AS, is required to achieve minimal conformance.  For
           example, IP and ICMP must be implemented by all Internet
           systems using the TCP/IP Protocol Suite.

      (b)  Recommended:  Implementation of the referenced TS is not
           required for minimal conformance, but experience and/or
           generally accepted technical wisdom suggest its desirability
           in the domain of applicability of the AS.  Vendors are
           strongly encouraged to include the functions, features, and
           protocols of Recommended TSs in their products, and should
           omit them only if the omission is justified by some special

      (c)  Elective:  Implementation of the referenced TS is optional
           within the domain of applicability of the AS; that is, the AS
           creates no explicit necessity to apply the TS.  However, a
           particular vendor may decide to implement it, or a particular
           user may decide that it is a necessity in a specific

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      As noted in Section 2.4, there are TSs that are not in the
      standards track or that have been retired from the standards
      track, and are therefore not required, recommended, or elective.
      Two additional "requirement level" designations are available for
      such TSs:

      (d)  Limited Use:  The TS is considered appropriate for use only
           in limited or unique circumstances.  For example, the usage
           of a protocol with the "Experimental" designation should
           generally be limited to those actively involved with the

      (e)  Not Recommended:  A TS that is considered to be inappropriate
           for general use is labeled "Not Recommended".  This may be
           because of its limited functionality, specialized nature, or
           historic status.

      The "IAB Official Protocol Standards" RFC lists a general
      requirement level for each TS, using the nomenclature defined in
      this section.  In many cases, more detailed descriptions of the
      requirement levels of particular protocols and of individual
      features of the protocols will be found in appropriate ASs.


   3.1.  Review and Approval

      A "standards action" -- entering a particular specification into,
      or advancing it within, or removing it from, the standards track
      -- must be approved by the IAB following recommendation by the

      3.1.1. Initiation of Action

         Typically, a standards action is initiated by a recommendation
         to the appropriate IETF Area Director by the individual or
         group that is responsible for the specification, usually an
         IETF Working Group.

         After completion to the satisfaction of its author and the
         cognizant Working Group, a document that is expected to enter
         or advance in the Internet standardization process shall be
         made available as an Internet Draft.  It shall remain as an
         Internet Draft for a period of time that permits useful
         community review, at least two weeks, before submission to the
         IESG with a recommendation for action.

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      3.1.2. IESG Review

         The IESG shall determine if an independent technical review of
         the specification is required, and shall commission one if
         necessary.  This may require creating a new Working Group, or
         there may be an agreement by an existing group to take
         responsibility for reviewing the specification.  When a
         specification is sufficiently important in terms of its
         potential impact on the Internet or on the suite of Internet
         protocols, the IESG shall form an independent technical review
         and analysis committee to prepare an evaluation of the
         specification.  Such a committee is commissioned to provide an
         objective basis for agreement within the Internet community
         that the specification is ready for advancement.

         Furthermore, when the criteria for advancement along the
         standards track for an important class of specifications (e.g.,
         routing protocols [6]) are not universally recognized, the IESG
         shall commission the development and publication of category-
         specific acceptance criteria.

         The IESG shall determine whether a specification satisfies the
         applicable criteria for the recommended action (see Sections
         3.2 and 3.3 of this document) and shall communicate its
         findings to the IETF to permit a final review by the general
         Internet community.  This "last-call" notification shall be via  |
         electronic mail to the IETF mailing list.  In addition, for      |
         important specifications there shall be a presentation or        |
         statement by the appropriate working group or Area Director      |
         during an IETF plenary meeting.  Any significant issues that
         have not been resolved satisfactorily during the development of
         the specification may be raised at this time for final
         resolution by the IESG.

         In a timely fashion, but no less than two weeks after issuance   |
         of the last-call notification to the IETF mailing list, the      |
         IESG shall communicate to the IAB its final recommendation via   |
         email, with a copy to the IETF mailing list.  This notification  |
         shall include a citation to the most current version of the      |
         document, and a clear statement of any relationship or           |
         anticipated impact of this action on other Internet standards-   |
         track specifications or non-Internet standards.

      3.1.3. IAB Review

         The IAB shall review the IESG recommendation in a timely
         manner.  If the IAB finds a significant problem or needs
         clarification on a particular point, it shall resolve the

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         matter with the Working Group and its chairperson and/or the
         document author, with the assistance and concurrence of the
         IESG and the relevant IETF Area Director.

         The IAB shall notify the IETF mailing list of IAB approval or    |
         other action that results.

      3.1.4. Publication

         Following IAB approval and any necessary editorial work, the
         RFC Editor shall publish the specification as an RFC.  The
         specification shall then be removed from the Internet Drafts

         An official summary of standards actions completed and pending   |
         shall appear in each issue of the Internet Society Newsletter.   |
         This shall constitute the Journal of Record of Internet          |
         standards actions.  In addition, the IAB shall publish a         |
         monthly summary of standards actions completed and pending in    |
         the Internet Monthly Report, distributed to all members of the   |
         IETF mailing list.

   3.2.  Entering the Standards Track

      A specification that is potentially an Internet Standard may
      originate from:

      (a)  an IAB-sponsored effort (typically an IETF Working Group),

      (b)  independent activity by individuals, or

      (c)  an external organization.

      Here (a) represents the great majority of cases.  In cases (b) and
      (c), the work might be tightly integrated with the work of an
      existing IETF Working Group, or it might be offered for
      standardization without prior IETF involvement.  In most cases, a
      specification resulting from an effort that took place outside of
      an IETF Working Group context will be submitted to an appropriate
      Working Group for evaluation and refinement.  If necessary, an
      appropriate Working Group will be created.

      For externally-developed specifications that are well-integrated
      with existing Working Group efforts, a Working Group is assumed to
      afford adequate community review of the accuracy and applicability
      of the specification.  If a Working Group is unable to resolve all
      technical and usage questions, additional independent review may
      be necessary.  Such reviews may be done within a Working Group

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      context, or by an ad hoc review committee established specifically
      for that purpose.  It is the responsibility of the appropriate
      IETF Area Director to determine what, if any, review of an
      external specification is needed and how it shall be conducted.

   3.3.  Advancing in the Standards Track

      A specification shall remain at the Proposed Standard level for at
      least six (6) months and at the Draft Standard level for at least
      four (4) months, to ensure adequate time for community review.      |
      These intervals shall be measured from the date of publication of   |
      the resulting RFC(s), or, if the action does not result in RFC      |
      publication, the date of IAB approval of the action.                |

      A review of the viability of a standardization effort will be       |
      conducted by the IESG and IAB when a standards-track specification  |
      has remained at the same status level for twenty-four (24) months,  |
      and every twelve (12) months thereafter until the status is         |
      changed.  The IESG shall recommend, and the IAB approve,            |
      termination or continuation of the development, with the            |
      appropriate change of status.  Such a recommendation shall be       |
      communicated to the IETF via electronic mail to the IETF mailing    |
      list, to allow the Internet community an opportunity to comment.    |
      This provision is not intended to threaten a legitimate and active  |
      Working Group effort, but rather to provide an administrative       |
      mechanism for terminating a moribund effort.

      A specification may be (indeed, is likely to be) revised as it
      advances through the standards track.  At each stage, the IESG
      shall determine the scope and significance of the revision to the
      specification, and, if necessary and appropriate, modify the
      recommended action.  Minor revisions are expected, but a
      significant revision may require that the specification accumulate
      more experience at its current maturity level before progressing.
      Finally, if the specification has been changed very significantly,
      the IESG may recommend that the revision be treated as a new
      document, re-entering the standards track at the beginning.

      Change of status shall result in republication of the               |
      specification as an RFC, except in the rare case that there have    |
      been no changes at all in the specification since the last          |
      publication.  Generally, desired changes will be "batched" for      |
      incorporation at the next level in the standards track.  However,   |
      deferral of changes to the next standards action on the             |
      specification will not always be possible or desirable; for         |
      example, an important typographic error, or a technical error that  |
      does not represent a change in overall function of the              |
      specification, may need to be corrected immediately.  In such       |

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      cases, the IESG or RFC Editor may be asked to republish the RFC     |
      with corrections, and this will not reset the minimum time-at-      |
      level clock.

   3.4.  Revising a Standard

      A new version of an established Internet Standard must progress     |
      through the full Internet standardization process as if it were a   |
      completely new specification.  Once the new version has reached     |
      the Standard level, it will usually replace the previous version,   |
      which will move to the Historic status.  However, in some cases
      both versions may remain as Internet Standards, to honor the
      requirements of an installed base.  In this sitution, the
      relationship between the previous and the new versions must be
      explicitly stated in the text of the new version or in another
      appropriate document (e.g., an Applicability Statement; see
      Section 2.2.2).

   3.5.  Retiring a Standard                                              |

      As the technology changes and matures, it is possible for a new     |
      Standard specification to be so clearly superior technically that   |
      one or more existing Internet Standards for the same function       |
      should be retired.  In this case, the IESG shall recommend and the  |
      IAB approve a change of status of the superseded specification(s)   |
      from Standard to Historic.  This recommendation shall be issued     |
      with the same Last-Call and notification procedures used for any    |
      other standards action.


   Many de facto and de jure standards groups other than the IAB/IETF
   create and publish standards documents for network protocols and
   services.  When these external specifications play an important role
   in the Internet, it is desirable to reach common agreements on their
   usage -- i.e., to establish Internet Standards relating to these
   external specifications.

   There are two categories of external specifications:

   (1)  Open Standards

        Accredited national and international standards bodies, such as
        ANSI, ISO, IEEE, and CCITT, develop a variety of protocol and
        service specifications that are similar to Technical
        Specifications (see glossary in Appendix A).  These
        specifications are generally de jure standards.  Similarly,
        national and international groups publish "implementors'

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        agreements" that are analogous to Applicability Statements,
        capturing a body of implementation-specific detail concerned
        with the practical application of their standards.

   (2)  Vendor Specifications

        A vendor-proprietary specification that has come to be widely
        used in the Internet may be treated by the Internet community as
        a de facto "standard".  Such a specification is not generally
        developed in an open fashion, is typically proprietary, and is
        controlled by the vendor or vendors that produced it.

   To avoid conflict between competing versions of a specification, the
   Internet community will not standardize a TS or AS that is simply an
   "Internet version" of an existing external specification, unless an
   explicit cooperative arrangement to do so has been made.  However,
   there are several ways in which an external specification that is
   important for the operation and/or evolution of the Internet may be
   adopted for Internet use.

   (a)  Incorporation of an Open Standard

        An Internet Standard TS or AS may incorporate an open external
        standard by reference.  The reference must be to a specific
        version of the external standard, e.g., by publication date or
        by edition number, according to the prevailing convention of the
        organization that is responsible for the specification.

        For example, many Internet Standards incorporate by reference
        the ANSI standard character set "ASCII" [7].

   (b)  Incorporation of a Vendor Specification

        Vendor-proprietary specifications may also be incorporated, by
        reference to a specific version of the vendor standard.  If the
        vendor-proprietary specification is not widely and readily
        available, the IAB may request that it be published as an
        Informational RFC.                                                |

        For a vendor-proprietary specification to be incorporated within  |
        the Internet standards process, the proprietor must follow the    |
        requirements of section 5 below.                                  |

        The IAB/IETF will generally not favor a particular vendor's
        proprietary specification over the technically equivalent and
        competing specifications of other vendors by making it
        "required" or "recommended".

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   (c)  Assumption                                                        |

        An IETF Working Group may start from an external specification    |
        and develop it into an Internet TS or AS, if the specification    |
        is provided to the Working Group in compliance with the           |
        requirements of section 5 below.  Continued participation in the  |
        IETF work by the original owner is likely to be valuable, and it  |
        is encouraged.

5.  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS                                          |

   In all matters of intellectual property rights, Internet's intention   |
   is to benefit the Internet community and the public at large, while    |
   respecting the known, legitimate rights of others.                     |

   In this section:                                                       |

   o    "applicable patents" or "applicable pending patents" means        |
        purportedly valid patents or patent applications that             |
        purportedly apply to technology required to practice an Internet  |
        standard.                                                         |

   o    "Trade secrets" means confidential, proprietary information.      |

   o    "ISOC" includes the Internet Society, its directors, officers,    |
        employees, contractors, and agents, IAB, IETF, IESG, and          |
        Internet working groups and committees.                           |

   o    "Standards work" includes the creation, development, testing,     |
        revision, adoption, or maintenance of an Internet standard.       |

   o    "Standards documents" include specifications, RFCs, and           |
        proposed, draft, and adopted standards.                           |

   o    "Internet community" means the entire set of people using the     |
        Internet standards, directly or indirectly.                       |

   5.1. Trade Secret Rights                                               |

      ISOC will not accept, in connection with its standards work, any    |
      technology or information subject to any commitment,                |
      understanding, or agreement to keep it confidential or otherwise    |
      restrict its use or dissemination.                                  |

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   5.2. Patent Rights                                                     |

      (A)  ISOC will not propose, adopt, or continue to maintain any      |
           standard which can only be practiced using technology that is  |
           subject to known applicable patents or patent applications,    |
           except with prior written assurance that:                      |

           1.   ISOC may, without cost, freely use the technology in its  |
                standards work, and                                       |

           2.   upon adoption and during maintenance of a standard, any   |
                party will be able to obtain the right to use the         |
                technology under specified, reasonable, non-              |
                discriminatory terms.                                     |

           3.   the party giving the assurance has the right and power    |
                to grant the licenses and knows of no other applicable    |
                patents or patent applications or other intellectual      |
                property rights that may prevent ISOC and users of        |
                Internet from practicing the standard.                    |

           When the written assurance has been obtained, the standards    |
           documents shall include the following notice:                  |

           "__________(name of patent owner) has provided written         |
           assurance to the Internet Society that any party will be able  |
           to obtain, under reasonable, nondiscriminatory terms, the      |
           right to use the technology covered by__________(list patents  |
           and patent applications) to practice the standard.  A copy of  |
           the assurance may be obtained from ________.  The Internet     |
           Society takes no position on the validity or scope of the      |
           patents and patent applications, nor on the appropriateness    |
           of the terms of the assurance.  The Internet Society makes no  |
           representation there are no other intellectual property        |
           rights which apply to practicing this standard, or that it     |
           has made any effort to identify any such intellectual          |
           property rights."                                              |

      (B)  ISOC encourages all interested parties to bring to its         |
           attention, at the earliest possible time, the existence of     |
           any applicable patents or patent applications.  For this       |
           purpose, each standards document will include the following    |
           invitation:                                                    |

                "The Internet Society invites any interested party to     |
                bring to its attention any patents or patent applications |

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                which purport to cover technology that may be required to |
                practice this standard.  Address the information to       |
                __________."                                              |

           When applicable, the following sentence will be included in    |
           the notice:                                                    |

                "As of __________, no information about any applicable patents|
                or patent applications has been received."                |

      (C)  ISOC disclaims any responsibility to identify the existence    |
           of or to evaluate applicable patents or patent applications    |
           on behalf of or for the benefit of any member of the Internet  |
           community.                                                     |

      (D)  ISOC takes no position on the validity or scope of any         |
           applicable patent or patent application.                       |

      (E)  ISOC will take no position on the ownership of inventions      |
           made during standards work, except for inventions of which an  |
           employee or agent of the Internet Society is a joint           |
           inventor.  In the latter case, the Internet Society will make  |
           its rights available to anyone in the Internet community on a  |
           royalty-free basis.                                            |


This document represents the combined output of the Internet
Architecture Board and the Internet Engineering Steering Group, the
groups charged with managing the processes described in this document.
Major contributions to the text were made by Bob Braden, Vint Cerf,
Lyman Chapin, Dave Crocker, Barry Leiner, and Patrice Lyons.  It
incorporates a number of useful suggestions made by IETF members.

   [1]  Cerf, V., "The Internet Activities Board", RFC 1160, IAB, May

   [2]  Postel, J., "IAB Official Protocol Standards", RFC 1280, IAB,
        March 1992.

   [3]  Braden, R., Editor, "Requirements for Internet Hosts --
        Communication Layers", RFC 1122, IETF, October 1989.

   [4]  Braden, R., Editor, "Requirements for Internet Hosts --
        Application and Support", RFC 1123, IETF, October 1989.

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   [5]  Almquist, P., Editor, "Requirements for IP Routers", in

   [6]  Hinden, R., "Internet Engineering Task Force Internet Routing
        Protocol Standardization Criteria", RFC 1264, BBN, October 1991.

   [7]  ANSI, Coded Character Set -- 7-Bit American Standard Code for
        Information Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1986.

   [8]  Reynolds, J., and J. Postel, "Assigned Numbers", RFC 1060, ISI,
        March 1990.

   [9]  Postel, J., "Introduction to the STD Notes", RFC 1311, ISI,
        March 1992.

   [10]  Postel, J., "How to Write an RFC", RFC 1???, ISI, ????, 199?.


   ANSI:  American National Standards Institute

   CCITT: Consultative Committee for International Telephone and

             A part of the UN Treaty Organization: the International
             Telecommunications Union (ITU).

   DARPA: (U.S.) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

   ISO:   International Organization for Standardization

   APPENDIX B: CONTACT POINTS                                             |

   To contact the RFC Editor, send an email message to "rfc-              |".                                                       |

   To contact the IANA for information or to request a number, keyword    |
   or parameter assignment send an email message to "".       |

   To contact the IESG, send an email message to "".          |

   To contact the IAB, send an email message to ""

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Security Considerations

   Security issues are not substantially discussed in this memo.

Authors' Address

   A. Lyman Chapin
   BBN Communications Corporation
   150 Cambridge Park Drive
   Cambridge, MA  02140

   Phone: 617-873-3133
   Fax:   617-873-4086

   Email: Lyman@BBN.COM

   Bob Braden
   University of Southern California
   Information Sciences Institute
   4676 Admiralty Way
   Marina del Rey, CA 90292

   Phone: (310) 822-1511

   EMail: Braden@ISI.EDU

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