Comparing the bylaws of standards organizations

Comparing the bylaws of 12 standards organization

Written by Menno Treffers

Category: Governance

2022-03-23

Comparing the bylaws that govern standards organizations

This articles compares the bylaws of 12 standards organizations: 3GPP, Bluetooth SIG, ETSI, FIDO Alliance, GSMA, HDMI Forum, IEC, IETF, MIPI, USB IF, Wi-Fi Alliance, and Zhaga.

Table of Contents

  1. Similarity obscured by differences in terminology
  2. Rules about membership and voting rights
  3. Rules about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR Policy)
  4. The choice of legal entity
  5. Voting procedures in BoD, General Assembly, and work groups
  6. Some important differences
  7. References to bylaws and membership agreements

1.      Similarity obscured by differences in terminology

Each standards organization has it own rules. This comparison of bylaws shows that the variation in rules is limited. High-level concepts are often the same although they are described with different terminology. The detailed voting rules show more variation.

The article compares the rules by mapping the terminology used by the organization on a harmonized set or terms. We use:

  • “Bylaws” for the governance rules. Even though the rules may not be in a document called “Bylaws” but in a document called, for example, “Policy”, or “Working Procedure”.
  • “Board of Directors” or “BoD” for the people who are responsible (have the fiduciary duty) for the cooperation’s legal entity.
  • “General Assembly” for a meeting of highest level members.

The mapping for each organization is explained in section 7. “References to bylaws and membership agreements” at the end of this page.

This article analyzes only some aspects of the governance of standards organization. The focus is on the highest levels of the organization, less on how decisions are made in work groups and committees.

The analysis is necessarily incomplete and I may have misunderstood how some of the organizations are managed. Please contact me if you would like to see another aspect compared, another organization added to the list, or to correct mistakes.

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2.     Rules about membership and voting rights

We start the comparison of bylaws with voting rights. Is membership at the highest level restricted? Is it an organization in which everyone can participate with equal rights?

2.1    Which body is the highest authority in the organization?

The highest authority is usually the final approver of the standard, the final approver of the budget, and the final approver of changes in the Bylaws.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Highest Authority
Project Coordination Group (PCG) decides on changes in Bylaws, approval of standards, and budget allocation to activities. Only Organizational Partners have voting rights in PCG.
Board of Directors
General Assembly
General Assembly, called “FIDO Board”.
Board of Directors according to the GSMA Articles of Association. That seems inconsistent with the Swiss Civil Code. Articles 60-79 state that the General Assembly is the highest authority and may dismiss governing bodies.
Board of Directors
General Assembly
General Assembly (This is a meeting of the participants. IETF doesn’t have members or a membership agreement)
Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Board of Directors
General Assembly
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2.2    Directors appointed as individual or as representative of a member?

Directors have a duty of care (fiduciary duty) for the legal entity of the organization. At the same time they are usually an employee of one of the members. The way the directors are appointed and replaced indicate the level of independence of the directors.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Individual or representative of member
3GPP doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD. The Project Coordination Group (PCG) comes closest to the role of BoD. Representatives of Organizational Partners have voting rights in the PCG. They participate as representative of an Organizational Partner.
Promotor Directors are representative of a Promoter Member and may be replaced at any time by that Promoter Member.
Directors are appointed as individual
Directors are appointed as individual
Directors are appointed as individual
Directors are appointed as individual
Directors are appointed as individual
Directors are appointed as individual
Directors are representative of a Founder or Promoter. Directors may have an alternate suggesting that the director is not appointed as individual.
Directors are representative of a Promoter Member and may be replaced by that member at any time. Directors may have an alternate suggesting that the director is not appointed as individual.
Directors are representative of a Sponsor Member and may be replaced by that member at any time. Directors may have an alternate suggesting that the director is not appointed as individual.
Zhaga doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD. The Steering Group (SG) comes closest to the role of BoD. Members of the SG are elected by the General Assembly.
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2.3   Highest class membership gives right to appoint director in BoD?

Some organizations elect the directors in a meeting of the members. Other organizations give the highest class membership the right to appoint a director, usually in combination with limits in the number of members in the highest class,  otherwise the number of directors may become too large.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Highest class membership gives right to appoint director in BoD?
3GPP doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD. The Project Coordination Group (PCG) comes closest to the role of BoD.
Organizational Partners can appoint representatives in the PCG. Only these representatives have voting rights in the PCG.
Yes. Promoter Members can appoint a director. An Associate Member may nominate a director. Such Associate Member Director can be appointed by the unanimous approval of the Promoter Member Directors.
No. Directors are elected by the General Assembly
No. Directors are elected by the General Assembly (=FIDO Board).
Between 51% and 66% of directors are appointed by the largest members. Remaining seats nominated by members and selected by the BoD.
No. Directors are elected by the General Assembly
No. Directors are elected by the General Assembly
Not applicable to IETF
Yes. Founders and Promoter Members may each appoint a director
Yes. Promoter Members may each appoint a director.
Yes. Sponsor Members must each appoint a director.
Zhaga doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD.
Members of the Steering Group are elected by the General Assembly.
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2.4   Number of highest class members limited?

Is the highest level open to any company willing to pay the membership fee?

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Number of highest class members limited?
No limit on number of Organizational Partners
Yes. Promoter Membership is limited to 7 companies. Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Toshiba, Microsoft, Lenovo, Apple.
No
No
No
No
No
IETF doesn’t have members or a membership agreement. No limit on the number of the participants.
Yes
No, although the hurdle to be approved is high (requires unanimous approval by current promotors).
No
No
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2.5    Competitors represented in BoD?

Are competitors excluded from the Board of Directors? The organization is in essence a for-profit operation when the evolution of the standard is controlled by business partners.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Competitors represented in BoD?
3GPP doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD.
Competitors are represented in the Project Coordination Group (PCG)
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Not applicable. Members are not companies but national standardization committees.
Not applicable to IETF
Yes
Yes
Yes
Zhaga doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD.
Competitors are represented in the Steering Group
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2.6    Can general assembly recall directors?

A director can usually be removed by the other directors. Is it also possible for the members to remove a director?

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Can general assembly recall directors?
3GPP doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD.
Organizational Partners can appoint representatives in the PCG. They cannot be recalled by the General Assembly.
A director can be removed by vote of the seven Promoter Members.
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Not applicable to IETF
No
No
Yes, by 2/3 of Sponsor Members
Zhaga doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD.
Members of the Steering Group can be recalled by the General Assembly.
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2.7    Restrictions on highest level membership based on company type?

Most organizations require that members support the goals of the organization. It is a soft requirement that can, in practice, not be used to refuse a membership application.

Does the organization have restrictions that are objective and are really used in practice?

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Restrictions on highest level membership based on company type?
Yes. See Article 6 of the Working Procedures
No
No
No
No
No
Not applicable. Members are not companies but national standardization committees
IETF doesn’t have members.
Participants are individuals. No restrictions for individual participation.
No
No
No
No
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2.8   New highest level member application needs approval/vote?

Rejecting an application for membership is a decision that must not be taken lightly, in particular when a competitor already participates at that highest level. Is approval required by vote of the current members?

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
New highest level member application needs approval/vote?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
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3.   Rules about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR Policy)

Products that implement a standard may infringe some patents. The rules that give access to these essential patents are covered in this section of the comparison of bylaws.

3.1   RAND or Royalty-Free?

Organizations usually require that members make their essential patents available for use by other members. Their standards cannot be used without access to the essential patents. What are the conditions? There are roughly two main variants:

  1. “Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory terms and conditions (RAND). Sometimes also called “Fair Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory” or FRAND. Such license may require payment of a royalty.
  2. A royalty-free license. Also under RAND terms and conditions, but without the possibility to require payment of royalties.
Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
RAND or Royalty-Free license
RAND, same as ETSI
Royalty-Free
RAND
Royalty-Free
No patent license rules (GSMA doesn’t create standards)
Members may not assert essential patents (effectively a royalty-free license).
Unusual:
  • HDMI may charge fees for the non-assertion and other rights
  • Formerly Adopted Specifications excluded from the IPR rules.
No obligations. Patent owners are usually companies and they cannot be contractually bound by IEC because companies are not members. Employees of companies participate and contribute to the development of IEC standards but as representative of a national standardization committee.
No obligations. Patent owners are usually companies and they cannot be contractually bound by IETF because participation doesn’t require companies to sign an agreement with IETF.
Royalty-free
Royalty-free
RAND
Royalty-free
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3.2   Mandatory Disclosure of Essential Patents?

Some organizations require that members disclose their essential patents and patent applications that may become an essential patent, as part of the review and approval process of a new standard.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Mandatory Disclosure of Essential Patents?
Yes, same as ETSI
No
Yes
Yes
Not applicable. GSMA doesn’t create technical specifications.
No
No obligations.
Participants must disclose IPR in their contributions if they are aware of the IPR. Note that participants are individuals. There are no disclosure obligations for companies that may own essential patents.
No
Yes
Not required
No
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3.3    Refusal to license essential patents possible?

Some organizations offer members the possibility to avoid patent license obligations.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Refusal to license essential patents possible?
Yes, same as ETSI
No
Yes
Yes
Not applicable
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, subject to approval by the BoD
Yes, by withdrawing from the task force that developed the specification
Yes, by submitting a patent declaration within 60 days after the announcement to approve a specification.
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4.1    Type of legal entity

There are many different variants.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Type of legal entity
3GPP doesn’t have its own legal entity.
Services that require a legal entity will be provided by one of the Organizational Partners (e.g. ETSI).
A Delaware non-profit, non-stock, corporation
An association under French law.
A nonprofit mutual benefit corporation under California Nonprofit Corporation Law
An association under Swiss law.
A Delaware non-profit mutual benefit corporation
An non-profit association under Swiss law.
A single member LLC. The Internet Society is that single member.
A Delaware non-profit, non-stock, corporation
A nonprofit mutual benefit corporation under Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Law
A California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation
Zhaga doesn’t have its own legal entity. Zhaga is a program of IEEE-ISTO.
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4.2  Applicable law

Conflicts about the application of the bylaws may end up in court. The bylaws or membership agreement needs to specify the law that will be applied.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Applicable Law
Not specified. Participating companies are member of an Organizational Partner (e.g. ETSI). The law in that participation agreement will apply.
Laws of the State of New York.
Laws of France
Laws of the State of California
Laws of Switzerland
Laws of the State of Delaware
Laws of Switzerland
Laws of the State of Delaware
Laws of the State of Delaware
Laws of the State of Oregon
Laws of the State of California
Laws of Germany
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4.3   Non-Profit?

It is difficult to justify that a standards organization operates for profit, and distributes these profits to the members.

For profit standards development is theoretically possible, probably by an organization that is managed by business partners and excludes competitors from partcipating at the highest level.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Non-Profit?
Non-Profit, same as ETSI
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
Non-profit
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5.     Voting procedures in BoD, General Assembly, and work groups

This part of the comparison of bylaws dives into the details of voting procedures. The differences between organizations are bigger compared with other aspects.

5.1    Quorum rules

“Quorum” is the minimum number of participants that must be present in order to make decisions.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Quorum rules
In PCG: 50% of Organizational Partners.
In TSG and WG: 30% of members with voting rights
BoD: more than 50% of directors.
General Assembly: Four-Fifths of Promoter Members
BoD and General Assembly: 50% of weighted voting rights.
More than 50%
General Assembly: more than one third of members
General Assembly: more than 50%.
BoD: 70%
General Assembly and BoD: more than 50%
BoD of IETF LLC: two-thirds (2/3).
IETF: not applicable. Decisions made by consensus on mailing lists
BoD: 75%.
General Assembly: not specified in Bylaws
BoD: 2/3.
General Assembly: 2/3 of Promoter Members.
Work Group: 2/3 of members with voting rights
BoD: 2/3.
General Assembly: 2/3 of Sponsor Members
General Assembly: 50% of Regular Members.
Steering Group: 65%
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5.2    Rules for majority

Standards organizations have very different rules for determining the majority that is needed to approve a proposal. Not only the minimum percentages differ, but also the way “abstain” vote are treated. Some organizations disregard abstain votes in calculating the percentage in favor. Other organizations require that the number of affirmative votes is a percentage of the total number of votes cast (including abstain votes).

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Majority rules
In PCG, TCG and WGs: at least 71% in favor, not counting abstains
BoD and General Assembly: more than 50% (with exceptions stated in Bylaws)
General Assembly: 71%. Members don’t have equal voting rights (“Weighted Voting”)
More than 50%
More than 50%. Members have weighted voting rights, depending on annual membership fee
BoD: 75%.
General Assembly: more than 50%
General Assembly: more than 50%.
BoD: two-thirds (2/3)
BoD of IETF LLC: two-thirds (2/3).
IETF: "rough consensus", meaning that a very large majority of those who care must agree.
BoD: 50% of votes cast, with specific decisions requiring approval by 75% of directors.
General Assembly: not specified in Bylaws
BoD and General Assembly: 2/3 of those present at meeting.
WG: 2/3 of all members with voting rights must agree
BoD: 2/3 of directors in office.
General Assembly: 2/3 of Sponsor Members
General Assembly: more than 50%. Some decisions require 65% or 100%.
Steering Group: more than 50%. Some decisions require 65%.
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5.3    Voting rights depend on attendance?

Some organizations require that members attend meetings. Voting rights may be taken away when members do not attend.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Voting rights depending on attendance?
PCG: no. TSC and WG: voting rights removed when missing 3 consecutive meetings. In person attendance required, unless Annex I (special conditions when travel is restricted) is in effect.
BoD and General Assembly: no
BoD and General Assembly: no
No
No
No
No
No
BoD and General Assembly: No.
Work Groups: in-person attending two of the previous four Meetings
BoD and General Assembly: No.
Work Groups: 2 out of three previous meetings
BoD and General Assembly: No
General Assembly and Steering Group: No
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5.4  Confidential vote possible?

Votes can be open, by roll call or raise of hands. Some organizations allow confidential votes, also called “secret ballots”.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Confidential votes possible?
Yes. Votes in PCG, TSG, or WG may exceptionally be performed by secret ballot.
Not mentioned in Bylaws.
General Assembly: Confidential voting is the default.
Not mentioned in Bylaws or membership agreement
Not mentioned in GSMA Articles of Association
Not mentioned in Bylaws
Yes, mandatory for elections
No
BoD and General Assembly: not specified
Work Groups: yes
BoD and General Assembly: not specified
BoD: not specified
General Assembly: No
Yes, mandatory for elections
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5.5   Proxy vote possible?

Is it allowed for a member to hand over voting rights to another member? That can be useful when meetings are held in person without the possibility to participate remotely.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Vote by proxy possible?
Yes. A member may carry up to 5 proxy votes for other members
General Assembly: yes
General Assembly : Yes. A member may carry up to 3 proxy votes for other members
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
BoD and General Assembly: Yes
BoD: No (Alternates are allowed).
General Assembly: Yes
BoD: No.
General Assembly: No
No
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5.6   Rules for on-line meetings

Is it possible for the organization to make decisions with some or all members participating remotely using on-line meeting tools?

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Rules for on-line meetings
Work Group and TCG: On-line participation allowed but does not count for maintenance of voting rights.
PCG: not defined.
BoD: allowed
General Assembly: allowed
General Assembly and work groups: allowed
Not mentioned in GSMA articles of association
BoD: allowed.
General Assembly: not mentioned
General Assembly and BoD: allowed
Allowed.
General Assembly and BoD: allowed
BoD: allowed.
General Assembly: not specified
BoD and General Assembly: allowed
General Assembly and Steering Group: allowed
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5.7    E-vote possible by BoD, General Assembly, Work Groups?

Traditionally called a “vote by correspondence” when paper ballots were distributed by mail. Today it is convenient to vote by email or by using electronic voting tools.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
E-vote possible by BoD, General Assembly, Work Groups?
TSG and WG: yes.
PCG: not defined
BoD and General Assembly: yes
BoD and General Assembly: yes
General Assembly and Work Groups: yes
General Assembly: yes
General Assembly: yes.
BoD: yes, but requires unanimous written consensus.
General Assembly and BoD: yes
Yes
BoD: yes.
General Assembly: not specified
BoD: only with unanimous written consent.
General Assembly: yes
BoD: only with unanimous written consent.
General Assembly: yes
General Assembly and Steering Group: yes
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5.8   Quorum rules for e-vote?

Are quorum rules for e-vote the same as for votes during a meeting? Some organizations rule that an e-vote, when issued to the official mailing list, allows all members to vote and is therefore considered to have met quorum requirement independent on the actual number of votes cast. Not voting is than equivalent to voting “abstain”.

Organiza-
tion
3GPP
Bluetooth SIG
ETSI
FIDO Alliance
GSMA
HDMI Forum
IEC
IETF
MIPI
USB IF
Wi-Fi Alliance
Zhaga Consortium
Quorum rules for E-votes
Quorum not applicable for E-votes by TSG and WG (article 27 of Working Procedures).
PCG: not defined.
BoD and General Assembly: same as during meeting
BoD and General Assembly: same as during meeting
Quorum not applicable for E-votes. Automatically met for ballots sent to the official mailing lists.
General Assembly: same as during meeting
General Assembly: same as during meeting.
BoD: 100% (unanimous written consent)
General Assembly and BoD: same as during meeting
BoD of IETF LLC: 2/3 of directors must approve a decision by e-vote.
Participants: no minimum quorum
BoD: Section 9 and 12 of Bylaws seem inconsistent. Section 12 specified unanimous written consent by all directors. Section 9 specifies that decisions may be taken when the number of approving directors is no less than required during a meeting.
BoD: 100% (unanimous written consent).
General Assembly: same as during meeting
BoD: 100% (unanimous written consent).
General Assembly: same as during meeting
General Assembly and Steering Group: same as during meeting
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6.   Some important differences

Some of the choices made in governance of standards organization have a particularly large influence on their way of working and culture. Differences that stand out in this comparison of bylaws are:

6.1    Restricting number of highest level members

Organizations like Bluetooth SIG limit access to the highest level membership. The advantage is that it creates stability. The disadvantage is that competitors are excluded from making the most important decisions. The sensitivity depends on the number. Seven seems small. Twenty will be unlikely to create anti-trust concerns.

6.2   Can the highest authority vote by email without requiring unanimous written consent?

Delaware, California, Oregon and Washington DC state law requires that directors of non-profit entities make decisions by unanimous written consent when the decision is not made during a meeting for which the directors were given proper notice. It is particularly inconvenient when directors live in different time zones all over the world.

It is worthwhile to structure the organization such that the highest level authority can make routine decisions by email.

There are two methods used by organizations in this analysis:

  1. Make it the goal of the legal entity to provide services to the standards organization, and authorize a separate group to decide everything except routine matters that must be, by law, dealt with by the BoD. That’s what IETF, FIDO, and Zhaga did. The BoD will have less need for e-votes.
  2. Chose a legal environment that is less restrictive on use of e-votes

6.3    RAND or Royalty-Free

This choice depends on the willingness of potential owners of essential patents to contribute to standards development. Organizations that require royalty-free licenses usually allow members to exclude a specific patent from this obligation, but that clause is rarely used in practice.

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7.    References to bylaws and membership agreements

This section provides links to webpages and governing documents used in the comparison of bylaws. Terminology mapping is provided when terminology used by the organization differs from the harmonized terms used in this article.

7.1    3GPP

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites seven telecommunications standard development organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC), known as “Organizational Partners” and provides their members with a stable environment to produce the Reports and Specifications that define 3GPP technologies.

Governing documents: https://www.3gpp.org/about-3gpp/about-3gpp

Main document: Working Procedures (7 March 2022)

Terminology mapping:

  • Bylaws = 3GPP Working Procedures
  • Board of Directors = 3GPP doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD. The Project Coordination Group (PCG) comes closest to the role of BoD.
  • Highest level membership class = Organizational Partners
  • General Assembly = Meeting of the Project Co-ordination Group (PCG)
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7.2    Bluetooth SIG

The Bluetooth SIG is a global community of over 36,000 companies serving to unify, harmonize and drive innovation in the vast range of connected devices all around us.

Governing documents: https://www.bluetooth.com/about-us/governing-documents/

Main document: Bluetooth SIG Bylaws (17 May 2019)

The Promoter Member Agreement is not publicly available.

Terminology mapping:

  • Highest level membership class = Promoter Member
  • General Assembly = meeting of Members. Only Promoter Member have voting rights.
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7.3   ETSI

ETSI is a European Standards Organization (ESO). ETSI is the recognized regional standards body dealing with telecommunications, broadcasting and other electronic communications networks and services.

Governing documents: https://www.etsi.org/about/our-operations

Main document: the ETSI Directives (1 December 2021)

Terminology mapping:

  • Bylaws = ETSI Directives
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7.4    FIDO Alliance

The FIDO Alliance is an open industry association with a focused mission: authentication standards to help reduce the world’s over-reliance on passwords.

Governing documents: https://fidoalliance.org/members/membership-application/

Main documents: the FIDO Alliance Bylaws (1 January 2020) and  FIDO Alliance Membership Agreement (1 January 2020).

Terminology mapping:

  • Highest level membership class = Board Member
  • General Assembly = FIDO Board
  • BoD = Executive Counsel = Statutory Committee
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7.5    GSMA

The GSMA is a global organization unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. GSMA’s vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organizations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Industry Services and Solutions, Connectivity for Good, and Outreach.

Governing documents: https://www.gsma.com/aboutus/legal/compliance

Main document: the GSMA Articles of Association (10 August 2020)

Terminology mapping:

  • Bylaws = GSMA Articles of Association
  • Board of Directors = Board
  • General Assembly = General Meeting
ToC

7.6    HDMI Forum

The purpose of the HDMI Forum is to guide the future direction of HDMI technology, develop new versions of the HDMI Specification, and foster broader global adoption and interoperability.

Governing documents: https://hdmiforum.org/join-us/

Main document: the HDMI Forum Inc Bylaws (13 February 2018)

Terminology mapping:

  • General Assembly = General Meeting
ToC

7.7   IEC

Founded in 1906, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is the world’s leading organization for the preparation and publication of international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. These are known collectively as “electrotechnology”.

Governing documents: https://www.iec.ch/members_experts/refdocs/

Main document: the Statutes and Rules of Procedure (2021 edition)

Terminology mapping:

  • Bylaws = Statutes and Rules of Procedure
  • Board of Directors = IEC Board
ToC

7.8    IETF

The mission of the IETF is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.

The IETF Administration LLC (IETF LLC) provides the corporate legal home for the IETF, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF).

Governing documents: https://www.ietf.org/about/administration/overview/

Main legal documents:  LLC Agreement of IETF Administration LLC (27 August 2018) and the By-Laws of the Internet Society (17 May 2021)

The legal documents don’t explain how IETF makes decisions. The way of working in IETF is better explained in the Tao of IETF.

Terminology mapping:

  • Bylaws = the Tao of IETF and the LLC Agreement of IETF Administration LLC
  • Board of Directors = Board of IETF Administration LLC
  • Highest level membership class = IETF doesn’t have members, only individual participants who don’t have to sign a membership agreement.
  • General Assembly = meeting of participants
ToC

7.9    MIPI

MIPI Alliance is a collaborative global organization serving industries that develop mobile and mobile-influenced devices. The focus of the organization is to design and promote hardware and software interfaces that simplify the integration of components built into a device, from the antenna and modem to peripherals and the application processor.

Governing documents: https://www.mipi.org/about-us/structure-and-governance

Main document: the MIPI Alliance Bylaws (22 March 2019)

Operation of working groups within MIPI Alliance are described in the Group Procedures & Managing Group Status document.

This article uses the term “General Assembly” for the Annual or Special Meeting of members described in the Bylaws. Note that only the Founders and Promoter Members have voting rights in these meetings.

Terminology mapping:

  • Board of Directors = Board
  • Highest level membership class = Founders
  • General Assembly = meeting of Members in which only Promoter Members and Founders have voting rights.
ToC

7.10    USB IF

USB Implementers Forum, Inc. is a non-profit corporation founded by the group of companies that developed the Universal Serial Bus specification. The USB-IF was formed to provide a support organization and forum for the advancement and adoption of Universal Serial Bus technology.

Governing documents: https://usb.org/about

Main documents: the Bylaws (15 December 2010) and the Device Working Group Procedures (revision 1.6.1).

Terminology mapping:

  • Board of Directors = Board
  • Highest level membership class = Promoter Members
  • General Assembly = meetings of Members in which only Promoter Members have voting rights
ToC

7.11   Wi-Fi Alliance

Wi-Fi Alliance is the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi®, one of the world’s most valued communications technologies. Our vision is to connect everyone and everything, everywhere.

Governing documents: https://www.wi-fi.org/who-we-are/governing-documents

Main document: the Bylaws

Terminology mapping:

  • Board of Directors = Board
  • Highest level membership class = Sponsor Members
  • General Assembly = meetings of Members. Decisions of that meeting must be approved by Sponsor Members
ToC

7.12  Zhaga Consortium

Zhaga is a global lighting-industry organization that aims to standardize interfaces of components of LED luminaires, including LED light engines, LED modules, LED arrays, holders, electronic control gear (LED drivers), connectors and sensing/communication modules.

Governing documents: https://zhagastandard.org/about-us/legal-documents.html

Main document: the New Zhaga Consortium Agreement

Terminology mapping:

  • Bylaws = New Zhaga Consortium Agreement
  • Board of Directors = Zhaga doesn’t have its own legal entity, or BoD. The Steering Group (SG) comes closest to the role of BoD.
  • Highest level membership class = Regular Member
ToC

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