RSA Laboratories

Guidelines for Contributions to the Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS)


RSA Laboratories invites contributions to the Public-Key Cryptography Standards, whether proposals for enhancements to existing PKCS documents ("proposed amendments") or suggestions for new PKCS documents ("proposed specifications"). In the interest of ensuring continued openness of the PKCS process and access to the PKCS documents, RSA Laboratories has established the following requirements for PKCS contributions.

Only formal contributions are intended to be subject to these requirements. Mailing list discussions, comments on draft documents, and other informal input to the PKCS process continue to be welcomed in their present form, though RSA Laboratories may seek to formalize any patent or copyright issues that may arise.

1. A Contribution shall consist of the following items:

  • Title. A short, descriptive title of the Contribution.
  • Classification. "Proposed Specification" or "Proposed Amendment" (identify existing PKCS document).
  • Contributor. Name of organization(s) or individual(s) offering the Contribution. Include contact information.
  • Date / Version of the contribution, to distinguish revisions.
  • Abstract. A short, non-technical summary of the Contribution.
  • Description. Sufficient detail should be given to enable others to assess the Contribution, and to enable a PKCS document to be revised or drafted to include the Contribution. In some cases, the description may consist of proposed revisions to an existing PKCS document, section by section.
  • Discussion, covering the benefits of the Contribution, compared to existing PKCS documents and other Contributions, as well as any disadvantages.
  • Intellectual Property Issues. See below.
  • References.

2. The "Intellectual Property Issues" section shall include the following text:

Contributor hereby submits this Contribution to RSA Laboratories for possible consideration in RSA Laboratories' Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS) and agrees to the guidelines for PKCS contributions in effect at the time this Contribution is submitted.

Contributor also hereby grants RSA Security license to make derivative works of this Contribution for the purpose of the PKCS process including submissions of PKCS results to other forums. Contributor represents that it has authority to grant such license.

3. The "Intellectual Property Issues" section shall also include text identifying any patents, patent applications, trademarks or trademark applications owned by or exclusively licensed to Contributor that may apply to the Contribution. The following is an example from PKCS #5 v2.0:

"RSA Security Inc. makes no patent claims on the general constructions described in this document, although specific underlying techniques may be covered. Among the underlying techniques, the RC5 encryption algorithm (Appendix B.2.4) is protected by U.S. Patents 5,724,428 [22] and 5,835,600 [23].

"RC2 and RC5 are trademarks of RSA Security Inc.

"RSA Security Inc. makes no representations regarding intellectual property claims by other parties. Such determination is the responsibility of the user."

4. The "Intellectual Property Issues" section shall also include text stating the Contributor's intent for licensing its patents and trademarks (existing and future) that may apply to the contribution. The text may take one of the following forms (following the practice of IEEE Standards):

a) A general disclaimer to the effect that the Contributor will not enforce any of its present or future patent(s) or trademarks whose use would be required to implement the Contribution or portions thereof if incorporated in PKCS documents.

b) A statement that a license will be made available to all applicants without compensation.

c) A statement that a license will be made available to all applicants under reasonable rates, with reasonable terms and conditions that are demonstrably free of any unfair discrimination.

Forms a) and b) are preferred, particularly for Contributions offered as fundamental components of a PKCS document. RSA Laboratories may request formal, written confirmation from Contributor of its licensing policy.

5. A Contributor shall promptly notify RSA Laboratories of any changes in patent or trademark coverage or licensing policy.

6. RSA Laboratories may solicit additional input from other parties on potential patent and trademark coverage on a Contribution, PKCS document or draft. Similarly, a Contributor may include information about other parties' potential patent and trademark coverage in a Contribution. However, RSA Laboratories does not warrant the correctness or completeness of such information, and does not require a Contributor to so warrant.

7. RSA Laboratories may reject a Contribution not meeting these requirements, and shall have sole decision-making authority on whether to include a Contribution or portions thereof in PKCS documents or drafts. As with previous PKCS documents, however, RSA Laboratories will rely on the review and advice of the worldwide community of security researchers and developers in its decision-making, and welcomes the community's input throughout the PKCS process.

Please address contributions to:

PKCS Editor
RSA Laboratories
174 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, MA  01730 USA

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