Standards in the United States

Introduction to Standards

Legal Materials

There are two main kinds of standards — industrial standards and financial standards. This section concerns industrial standards, i.e., the rules created by industries, associations and government agencies that prescribe how certain products should be made. For example, a standard concerning the construction of ladders might require that you use a certain quality of steel or that the ladder is able to hold a certain amount of weight.

For information on financial standards, see “Accounting Standards” and/or “Auditing Standards” in this legal Encyclopedia.

Sources for Full-Text Standards: You can search and purchase standards from many different organizations through the IHS Standards Store, the Document Center (650-591-7600), and TechStreet.

In addition, standards can be ordered directly through the Web sites posted by many of the standards-setting organizations, such as ANSI’s eStandards store and the IEEE Standards Store.

Finally, larger public libraries have most U.S. and some foreign and international standards available in hard copy and/or CD-ROM. The Linda Hall Library has a particularly large collection of standards (search the LHL catalog) and a good document delivery service (800-662-1545) .

ANSI v. ASME: ANSI is an accrediting organization. ASME develops standards. ASME is accredited by ANSI, which means it develops it sandards in according with ANSI procedures. ASME standards are often cited as “ANSI/ASME.”

Military Standards: TechStreet has military standards.

Standard Industrial Classification Codes Legal Materials

SIC Codes are published in the Standard Industrial Classification Manual, the Industry and Product Classification Manual and, in alphabetical order by subject, in the green pages of Standard & Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives. Alternatively, SIC Codes are posted on the Web by SEC Info ($/SEC/SIC.asp?Start) and OSHA ( You can search through the full text of the latest SIC Manual for free on the OSHA Web site ( or, for better searching, on Lexis (BUSREF;NAICS).

SIC Codes were last revised in 1987. They were replaced by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for most — but not all — purposes when the NAICS Codes were published in 1997. Most significantly, SIC codes are still used in SEC filings.

SIC codes are expanded to 7 digits in the Numerical List of Manufactured Products.

To find out the names of companies with a given SIC code (or NAICS code), look in the SIC Code Index in the Directory of Corporate Affiliations. For public companies, you can search a database of SEC filings, such as SEC Info ($/Home.asp). (For other searchable databases, see “Securities and Exchange Commission” in this legal Encyclopedia)

Standards (Summary Judgment)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of standards. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Summary Judgment is provided. Finally, the subject of Civil Procedure in relation with standards is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Concept of International Standards Organization (ISO) Country Codes in Foreign Trade

A definition of International Standards Organization (ISO) Country Codes in relation with foreign trade is provided here: The 2-position alphabetic code for countries used to identify countries for which shipments are reportable. While U.S. international trade data are collected using the ISO code, they are published using the 4-digit Schedule C Country Code.

Finding the law: Standards in the U.S. Code

A collection of general and permanent laws relating to standards, passed by the United States Congress, are organized by subject matter arrangements in the United States Code (U.S.C.; this label examines standards topics), to make them easy to use (usually, organized by legal areas into Titles, Chapters and Sections). The platform provides introductory material to the U.S. Code, and cross references to case law. View the U.S. Code’s table of contents here.


In Legislation

Standards in the U.S. Code: Title 19, Chapter 21, Subchapter III, Part D

The current, permanent, in-force federal laws regulating standards are compiled in the United States Code under Title 19, Chapter 21, Subchapter III, Part D. It constitutes “prima facie” evidence of statutes relating to Customs Duties (including standards) of the United States. The reader can further narrow his/her legal research of the general topic (in this case, North American Free Trade and Standards of the US Code, including standards) by chapter and subchapter.


See Also

Accounting Standards
Auditing Standards
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Standard Industrial Classification Codes
Securities and Exchange Commission

Further Reading

Service Level Standards and the E-Commerce Law

Service Level Standards and the Legal Aspects of E-Commerce


See Also

  • PPC Advertising
  • Social Networking
  • Spam
  • Startups
  • Internet Tax
  • Technology Law
  • Terms of Use

Standards: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Standards. This part provides references, in relation to Standards, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Standards by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Standards and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Standards or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Standards and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Standards. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Standards should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Standards when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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