On the Legal and Compliance Department’s main page, find information to understand the function of this department, as well as important information related to IEEE and its compliance efforts.

The IEEE Legal and Compliance Department is composed of five lawyers and four additional professionals, including two paralegals. The department is dedicated to the protection of the rights and the limitation of liabilities on IEEE, and its employees, members, and volunteers who engage in activities sponsored by, or on behalf of, IEEE. 

The goal of the Legal and Compliance department is to provide quality legal services in-house by professionals who are intimately familiar with the mission, activities, and business operations and opportunities of IEEE.

As a part of its broader mandate, the department:

  • Promotes the enhancement of the reputation and profile of IEEE worldwide through its amicus curiae briefs, filed in third-party legal cases, where the IEEE Board of Directors determines that such filings serve to support the mission of IEEE.
  • Provides strategic advice of a commercial and policy nature to the IEEE Board of Directors, its standing committees, ad hoc committees, and organizational units.
  • Represents IEEE in legal discussions with various government agencies around the world.

On a day-to-day basis, the Legal and Compliance Department provides advice and documentation relating to:

  • Intellectual property matters
  • Commercial contracts and business arrangements
  • Corporate structures and registrations
  • Compliance with laws, rules, and regulations applicable to IEEE and its related entities

The department also provides legal advice relating to:

  • The Code of Conduct
  • The Code of Ethics
  • The various compliance-related policies adopted by IEEE

The Legal and Compliance Department is supported by outside law firms that are engaged by the members of the department to provide advice on specialized areas of the law, such as tax, immigration, litigation, and the laws of the 189 other countries where IEEE has operations outside of the United States.

Only members of the Legal and Compliance Department are authorized to engage outside counsel. Please refer all legal questions to the department for further handling and resolution.

If you are contacted by a lawyer representing a party who is engaged in a matter involving IEEE or any of its organizational units, please contact the Legal and Compliance Department immediately.

Compliance questions

  • For general compliance questions regarding IEEE, please email compliance@ieee.org.
  • Concerns about inappropriate financial activity involving IEEE business or compliance with IEEE Principles of Business Conduct/Conflict of Interest may be anonymously reported.


Sanctions Laws and Export Controls Requirements Applicable to IEEE

At the core of IEEE’s success is acting with integrity and complying with applicable laws. During the course of conducting business on behalf of IEEE, at one time or another, IEEE may intersect with regulations that impose access, dissemination, or participation restrictions on the conduct of IEEE business and activities for reasons of national security, foreign policy, anti-terrorism, or non-proliferation. These laws–including international trade sanctions and export control regulations–are called Sanction Laws. Governments impose these restrictions as a means to promote human rights and the rule of law, and to address security and terrorism concerns.

Sanction Laws impact IEEE activities including membership, conferences, awards, publishing and travel. IEEE is a global organization that must comply with the laws and regulations of the countries in which it operates, including, but not limited to, the EU, UK and US laws. To learn more about global requirements that impact IEEE, the three entities linked to below provide more comprehensive information and links to relevant real-time information: 

  1. United Nations Security Council Sanctions & Embargo

  2. European Union International Sanctions & Embargo Regime

  3. U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)


IEEE is not permitted to provide certain types of services to, or to transact business with, sanctioned, excluded, and/or designated countries, entities or individuals. IEEE is required to comply with all applicable laws, including Sanction Laws, in the countries where we operate. Failure to comply with applicable regulations may result in significant civil monetary and criminal penalties. 

Current global Sanction Laws relevant to IEEE focus primarily on two areas: 

  • Comprehensive Sanctions, also called Geographic Sanctions, are country-based economic sanctions that prohibit virtually all activity and transactions involving a certain country. Comprehensive Sanctions can also apply to a region within a country. 
  • List-Based Sanctions target specific persons, entities, and organizations regardless of geographic location, rather than an entire nation, region or regime. List-Based Sanctions prohibit transactions between Specially Designated Nationals ("SDN") and Blocked Persons List.


Compliance with Rules Governing Comprehensive Sanctions

Comprehensive Sanctions currently apply to the following countries: Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea, as well as to Crimea, and to the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (“DNR” and “LNR”). Please be aware that IEEE may be prohibited by law to undertake certain collaborations and/or transactions with these countries and regions, subject to specific exceptions under applicable laws.


Compliance with Rules Governing SDNs

Several countries maintain lists of restricted individuals and entities, known as SDNs, with whom it is illegal to conduct business. In the global authorship context, it is critical to structure authorship collaborations in a thoughtful way, as violations can result in enforcement action and stiff financial penalties. All authors and collaborators should ensure that they meet the criteria to publish under the rules governing SDNs.


Exceptions and Licenses for Publications

Under US law, an informational materials (IM) exemption exists that allows IEEE to publish, sell and distribute journal, book and other content to parties located in all the jurisdictions listed above that are subject to Geographic Sanctions. The IM exception, however, does not permit IEEE to provide publishing services such as peer review, book editing, and marketing services to authors in these countries or regions.

The US separately allows such services pursuant to Publishing General Licenses, which so far have only been issued for Iran, Cuba, and Syria. As a result, IEEE can provide publishing services to authors in these countries, provided that the authors are:

  • not designated as an SDN themselves under a different sanctions program without a Publishing General License; and

  • publishing in their personal capacity (i.e., not on behalf of the government in the geographically sanctioned jurisdiction or on behalf of an SDN entity); or

  • employed by an academic or research institution (typically even if the institution is controlled by the government in the geographically sanctioned jurisdiction) so long as the institution itself is not owned by and/or designated under a program without a Publishing General License.


The Geographic Sanctions imposed on North Korea and Crimea, and recently on the DNR and LNR, do not include Publishing General Licenses explicitly permitting publishing services. Therefore, IEEE currently cannot provide peer review, editing, and other services to authors in these locations, because it can only publish “journal/book-ready” works by prospective authors in those countries. 


Compliance with Rules Governing Regulated Information

In addition to the above, IEEE is also required to comply with rules governing the publication of sensitive information (e.g., military defense-related) that is governed by export control laws (“Regulated Information”). This prohibition on publishing Regulated Information (i) narrowly relates to information required for the design, manufacture and operation of military and defense-related items that are governed by export control laws; and (ii) is further narrowed by an exception for the publication of general science, math and engineering principles commonly taught in academic institutions or information that is already in the public domain.

Submitting authors should always ensure that their submissions do not contain information prohibited from publication by export control or other laws.