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Key Documents of Interest

As coordinator of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is pleased to offer the following key documents of interest.

A one-stop site that aggregates background information and news on key issues of interest to the standardization community, this resource is meant to empower ANSI members and stakeholders through shared information and messaging. It is also meant to clearly present the Institute’s positions on key issues, and offer members and stakeholders the opportunity to take freely from these texts in developing responses and/or position papers for their own organizations.

ANSI Response to Federal Register Notice on OMB Circular A-119 (June 2012)

A March 30 Federal Register notice from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) invited public input on OMB's consideration of whether and how to supplement Circular A-119, “Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities.”

Given the importance of this issue, ANSI developed a consensus response on behalf of the standardization community, which was submitted on June 1, 2012. ANSI's response is available for all stakeholders to reference and utilize as appropriate.

ANSI Response to Federal Register Notice on Incorporation by Reference (June 2012)

On February 27, 2012, an Office of the Federal Register (OFR) notice called for public comment on a petition filed by a group of academics to amend the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA’s) regulations governing the approval of agency requests to incorporate by reference (IBR) materials into the Code of Federal Regulations.

This issue impacts the standards community in a number of key ways, especially with respect to defining the “reasonable availability” of voluntary consensus standards that have been incorporated into regulation.

Given the importance of this issue, ANSI developed a consensus response on behalf of the standardization community, which was submitted on May 31, 2012. ANSI's response is available for all stakeholders to reference and utilize as appropriate.

ANSI Response to Inquiry from Congressman Gordon

In October 2009, Congressman Bart Gordon, chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, issued an e-mail inquiry concerning standards and the standardization system. The survey was issued to a number of companies and associations asking them for their views on four specific questions:

  • How important are technical standards to companies like yours?
  • Do you think a comprehensive review of our standards-setting process is timely and worthwhile?
  • With the globalization of technology development and business, is it time to assess an international standards system developed 50 years ago?
  • As you know, the administration’s recent 60-day cybersecurity review recommends a single point in the federal government to coordinate our government’s position on international cyber standards. Should the Committee examine this issue, a single federal coordinating point, for all technical standards areas?

As coordinator of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system, ANSI developed a response with input from members of the Executive Committee. The Institute’s final response was submitted to Congressman Gordon’s office on November 12, 2009.

 Review ANSI’s response to Congressman Gordon’s inquiry
   ( .pdf )

 Review the text of the inquiry (.pdf)

 Read the ANSI Online news item about the inquiry


Survey on U.S. Standards Policies

On March 16, 2009, Don Purcell of The Center for Global Standards Analysis issued an e-mail survey concerning the roles of the private and public sectors in the development of private sector global technology standards. The survey was conducted with the knowledge and blessing of Mike Quear, staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee for Technology and Innovation.

In specific response to Mr. Purcell’s two-question survey, ANSI staff developed a proposed response on behalf of the Institute with input from members of the Executive Committee.

Following a comment period and a letter ballot, ANSI’s response was accepted by the National Policy Committee (NPC) on May 26, 2009. The final ANSI survey response was submitted to Mr. Purcell on May 29, 2009.

Mr. Purcell issued the final survey report on August 22, 2009, which included responses from ANSI and twenty-seven other organizations.

 Review the final survey report issued by the Center for
   Global Standards Analysis ( .pdf )

 Review ANSI’s response to the survey ( .pdf / .doc )

 Read the ANSI Online news item about the survey


Definition of “Open Standards”

The term “open standard” has been used recently by some to describe a standard that may be copied, used, and distributed for no fee and/or whose embedded technology is irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis. This definition has created some confusion among standards developers and users generally because it is contrary to the process-based definition of “open” and “openness” long held by ANSI and many other recognized standards bodies who understand the term to describe a collaborative, balanced, and consensus-based approval process for the promulgation of domestic or international standards.

This traditional definition is in alignment with the policies of the International Organization for Standardization, the International Electrotechnical Commission, and Annex 4 of the Second Triennial Review of the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

In an effort to offer guidance to the standardization community regarding appropriate use of the term “open” when used to describe a standards development process, ANSI is pleased to offer the following background information.

ANSI IPRPC Critical Issue Paper

In May 2005, ANSI published a Critical Issue Paper that was developed and approved by the Institute’s Intellectual Property Rights Policy Committee (IPRPC). Entitled “Current Attempts to Change Established Definition of ‘Open’ Standards,” the paper asserts that ANSI and many U.S.-based developers of voluntary consensus standards have used the terms “open” or “openness” to characterize a process that has certain important features. These include:

  • consensus by a group or “consensus body” that includes representatives from materially affected and interested parties;
  • broad-based public review and comment on draft standards;
  • consideration of and response to comments submitted by voting members of the relevant consensus body as well as by the public;
  • incorporation of approved changes into a draft standard; and
  • availability of an appeal by any participant alleging that due process principles were not respected during the standards-development process.

USPTO Support

At a meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents in March 2009, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) expressed strong support for the private-sector led and public-sector supported U.S. standards system and for the use of standards developed through an open and consensus-based process.

Specifically, the document from the USPTO outlined the benefits of open standards, and the USPTO stated “the United States supports and strongly encourages the use of open standards, as traditionally defined, that is, those developed through an open, collaborative process, whether or not intellectual property is involved.” (Emphasis added)

The document goes on to say that “Open standards can improve interoperability, facilitate interactions ranging from information exchange to international trade, and foster market competition.”

  Read the Critical Issue Paper, “Current Attempts to Change Established Defition of ‘Open’ Standards” (.pdf / .doc)

 Read the ANSI Online news item about the USPTO’s support of open standards (April 14, 2009)

 Read the USPTO statement before the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (March 25, 2009)


Federal Register notice:
“Executive Order on Federal Regulatory Review”

On February 26, 2009, the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a Federal Register notice (74 FR 5977) inviting public comments on how to improve the process and principles governing regulation. OMB will take these comments into account as it develops a set of recommendations to the President for a new Executive Order on Federal Regulatory Review.

In his request to OMB, the President stated that the recommendations should offer suggestions for the following:

  • The relationship between the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the agencies;
  • Disclosure and transparency;
  • Encouraging public participation in agency regulatory processes;
  • The role of cost-benefit analysis;
  • The role of distributional considerations, fairness, and concern for the interests of future generations;
  • Methods of ensuring that regulatory review does not produce undue delay;
  • The role of the behavioral sciences in formulating regulatory policy; and
  • The best tools for achieving public goals through the regulatory process.

ANSI developed a response to the request and submitted comments on March 16, 2009. Chiefly, the Institute’s comments underscored the effectiveness of the consensus-based, public-private partnership approach and called for the ongoing effective cooperation of government and industry. The response also cited the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), as recognized by OMB Circular A-119, as an excellent example of how the public-private partnership is already working to meet and exceed the public policy goals described in the Federal Register notice.

  Review ANSI’s response to the request for comments
( .pdf /  .doc)

  Read the Federal Register notice from February 26, 2009


Brochures and Other Reference Documents


Key Issues Impacting Global Standardization and Conformance: Today and Tomorrow
This white paper from the ANSI International Policy Committee examines standards and conformance issues impacting the ability of U.S. industry to conduct global trade. According to the paper, the expansion of global trade is increasingly important to the growth of the U.S. economy and to the continued revitalization of the American workforce. As the technical underpinning of many products and services, standards play a critical role in removing barriers to trade, enforcing free trade agreements, and expanding foreign markets for U.S. products, services, and personnel.


Power of Standardization
Every time we plug in a cell phone, turn on the television, or hit “send” on an email, standards are at work. And yet, for those outside of the standards community, standards and conformance activities can seem complicated and confusing. The Power of Standardization illuminates the role of standards in our everyday lives. The document gives the complete A-Z on standards: what they are, who creates them, and why they are so important to our everyday world.


Position Paper
Should standards be free? What if they are incorporated by reference into federal legislation, rules, or regulations? Should people have to pay for “the law?”

The ANSI white paper, Why Voluntary Consensus Standards Incorporated by Reference into Federal Government Regulations Are Copyright Protected, examines the copyright implications of incorporating of voluntary consensus standards by reference into regulation. The document is intended to educate U.S. standards developers, government officials, and other stakeholders about the importance of copyright in standards.



The United States Standards Strategy serves as a statement of purpose and ideals resulting from a reexamination of the principles and strategy that guide how the United States develops standards and participates in the international standards-setting process. It provides a framework that can be used by all interested parties to further advance trade issues, and a vision for the future of the U.S. standards system in today’s globally competitive economy.



The United States Conformity Assessment Principles document articulates the principles for U.S. conformity assessment activities that the consumer, buyers, sellers, regulators and other interested parties should be aware of to have confidence in the processes of providing conformity assessment, while avoiding the creation of unnecessary barriers to trade.


The Overview of the U.S. Standardization System will provide a greater understanding of the U.S. Voluntary Consensus Standardization and Conformity Assessment Infrastructure.


Change Is Built on a Foundation of Strength brochure.


American National Standards – Value of the ANS Designation brochure



ANSI Reporter Special Feature on the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act


ISO brochure: – Today’s state-of-the-art global solutions for CEOs


Effective representation in the international standards arena is critical to ensuring that the U.S. competes on a level playing field. The Guide for U.S. Delegates to Meetings of the IEC and ISO provides information and advice to committee participants representing the United States at meetings of the these organizations. Topics discussed include standards development processes and procedures, effective negotiation skills, and much more.


Through a series of questions and answers and examples of actual situations played out in the standards arena, the American Access to the European Standardizations Process provides an overview of how U.S.-based interested parties can effectively influence and have impact upon European standardization activities while promoting a mutual understanding.
Learn how strategic standardization is helping companies build their bottom line
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