This is an archived webpage. For current information about the IETF administrative arrangements, see the IETF Administration LLC website.

Document Authentication Procedures

Instructions for making Legal Requests to the IETF

Most IETF documents, including RFCs, Internet Drafts, mailing list archives,
intellectual property rights disclosures, working group activity, working group session
Blue Sheets (attendance) and Meeting Proceedings, are publicly available on the IETF
web site.

If obtaining IETF documents from the public IETF web site is not sufficient for a
party’s needs, then it may request authenticated documents and other information
directly from the IETF. The IETF has the ability to authenticate the content and
publication dates of certain IETF documents, attendance at IETF meetings and
working groups, correspondence via some IETF mailing lists, and other interactions
with the IETF.

Requests for such information may be made either informally or formally through the
issuance of a third-party subpoena or other legal order. Note that these instructions
only apply with respect to requests for information in connection with respect to
disputes and litigation to which IETF is not a party (i.e., third party requests). IETF
offers no guidance or assistance whatsoever with respect to claims against IETF or
which involve IETF as a party.

Informal Requests for Information

The IETF encourages parties to request documents and information
informally, without the issuance of a subpoena. This procedure fosters a cooperative spirit
between the requesting party and IETF and enables a productive and collaborative
effort to meet the party’s needs. In IETF’s experience, Declarations and Affidavits
issued through the informal processes outlined below are admissible in most judicial
and administrative proceedings (including U.S. federal and state court, the
International Trade Commission (ITC,) and the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB)).

To make an informal document or information request, please send an email message to stating:

    (1) the specific information requested,
    (2) whether the request pertains to a legal case or controversy and, if so, the
      jurisdiction and parties involved in the case,
    (3) the name and contact details of the person making the request and on whose
      behalf the request is made,
    (4) whether a response via electronic document is acceptable, or whether signed
      hard copy documents are required,
    (5) whether notarization of documents is required, and
    (6) the requested timeframe for response.

Upon receipt of such a request IETF legal counsel will follow-up with the requester to
acknowledge receipt and to clarify any questions concerning the request. Usually, IETF
counsel will work with the IETF to determine whether the requested information can be
obtained and authenticated as needed. If it is determined that authentication is not
possible (e.g., as is the case for certain older documents), then counsel will cooperate
with the requester to determine alternative approaches.

Authentication of documents and publication dates is generally made through written
Declarations signed by the relevant IETF record custodians. As currently structured,
different individuals have custody of Internet-Drafts and RFCs, meaning that separate
Declarations will be issued for these different document types. If greater formality is
required, a notarized Affidavit may be issued upon the request of the requester.


As noted above, IETF prefers informal requests to formal subpoenas, as document and
publication date authentication can be provided via the informal channels outlined above.
Nevertheless, if a party elects to issue a subpoena to IETF seeking information through
written interrogatories, IETF will oppose or seek to quash any interrogatories that are
excessively broad, burdensome, unrelated to the litigation, or which seek information that
is publicly available and do not require authentication.

To serve a subpoena on IETF, the following address for service of process must be used:

    IETF Administrative Director
    Internet Engineering Task Force
    1775 Wiehle Ave, Suite 201
    Reston, VA 20190 USA

The IETF is an organized activity of the Internet Society, a District of Columbia non-
profit corporation. In order to be valid, the named respondent in any subpoena issued to
IETF must be the Internet Society.


It is almost never the case that information sought from IETF will need to be obtained via
oral deposition. IETF has very few full-time employees, and many services are
performed by external contractors. Appearing at and defending a deposition places an
undue strain on IETF’s limited resources. Accordingly, IETF will oppose most
deposition requests to the greatest extent possible.

In the event that a deposition is absolutely necessary, IETF will seek reimbursement of
costs incurred by its contractors and counsel. If depositions are required, IETF requests
that videoconferencing be used to the greatest extent possible in order to reduce expense
and inconvenience. If in-person depositions are required, please be advised that in most
cases the personnel possessing relevant information regarding IETF documents and
business records will be employees of IETF’s contractors based in Los Angeles, CA.
These depositions should be scheduled in the Los Angeles area, or by telephone or video

Physical Documents and the IETF Trust

In some cases, it may be necessary for a party to obtain copies of physical IETF records
and documents (e.g., meeting blue sheets prior to mid-2012 and other non-digital
documents). The IETF Trust has custody of certain physical meeting records. To request
such documents, follow the procedures outlined above with respect to electronic IETF
documents. IETF counsel will notify you if a separate request to the IETF Trust is

Subpoenas served on the IETF Trust should be delivered to the address specified above,
but replacing the recipient with “IETF Trust”.

Document Retention

The IETF has a formal document retention policy under which certain types of
documents are deleted from IETF records or destroyed after the lapse of certain time
periods. Please consult this policy before requesting documents that may no longer be
retained by IETF. The policy is available at

Public Disclosure

Requesters should be aware that IETF is an open and transparent organization, and
all requests and subpoenas provided to IETF, together with IETF’s responses will be
published on the IETF web site. See:


In order to defray administrative and legal costs associated with responding to requests
for information and subpoenas, IETF charges modest fees and the recovery of expenses
for responding to such requests. The IAOC has adopted a Fees Policy for Legal Requests
that can be found here: . Additional
charges may apply if physical documents must be retrieved from off-site storage.


     Last Updated 28 August 2018