We are a software vendor and provide tools for other software developers. One of large companies requested information in order to determine whether our software is subject to Federal Export Administration Regulations (EAR). They are requesting us to provide the
Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) that classifies our software according to the Commerce Control List...
I remember dealing in my previous business engagements with "export" legal review - they were asking if there encryption algorithms are used in the software and things like that...
If we don't have the number - should we get it for them to consider having business with us (purchase products) or tell them we don't have one?
Another question is where do I even start if we were to get it?
Only certain products have an Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs). In other words, only certain items have specific export restrictions. Most everyday items do not have an ECCN (rather they are classified under the general category EAR99 and are subject to general export controls). Also, military items are classified under a different system and would not have an ECCN. So if your item is a commercial item with a specific export control, you would have an ECCN.
You can find the list of items with ECCNs here (it’s a very long list!):
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=c5cc9a1c749a6f225283bdfa124431d0&rgn=div9&view=text&node=15:18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.87&idno=15 However I suggest that you first read a little about export controls here:
http://www.bis.doc.gov/licensing/exportingbasics.htm Unfortunately classifying software can be tricky.
You have the option of self-classifying your product, but you could also get an official ruling on your ECCN. If you self-classify and get it wrong, you are legally responsible for penalties and fines:(
I hope this helps!