IoT update: Transitional period for the binding application of the new Radio Equipment Directive ends soon
The new regulatory requirements for radio installations have already been in place since 13 June 2016, following Directive 2014/53/EU (Radio Equipment Directive – “RED”). This important legal instrument for the IoT, Industry 4.0, digitalisation and connectivity is an amended version of the R&TTE Directive 1999/5/EC, which has now been repealed. The RED gives economic operators a one-year transitional period; however, this period will soon expire, which means that the requirements of RED will apply without restriction from 13 June 2017 at the latest. The (broad) term of radio installation covers, for example, smartphones, radio-controlled door- or gate openers, motion sensors, radiolocation systems, remote-controlled toys, WLAN routers, broadcast receivers and also radio-based car components – all of them key elements in a SmartHome, eHealth, SmartFactory, SmartGrid, etc.
The main reason for the RED is the adjustment to the New Legislative Framework (NLF), especially the Market Surveillance Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008 and Decision No. 768/2008/EC. The binding application of RED involves the following new points in particular:
- Harmonisation of term definitions;
- The area of application also extends to broadcast receivers and radiolocation systems, while telecommunications terminals and trial modules produced for specific customers and applications are explicitly no longer covered;
- The list with regard to the fundamental requirements of radio installations to be met additionally in certain categories or classes was supplemented. These must be compatible with accessories, especially with standard chargers (particularly for mobile phones) and the software to be loaded. The latter must be ensured by special functions of the radio installation;
- Additional requirements for traceability (especially product labelling and identification of the economic operators);
- For the first time, there must be official notification of (potentially) dangerous B2B products (notification obligation);
- More detailed rules on the obligations of the economic operators. In this respect, note that the scope of the relevant obligations has been extended, e.g. the manufacturers must register certain categories of radio installations from 12 June 2018;
- New criteria and procedures for selecting conformity assessment bodies;
- New version of the conformity assessment requirements.
There is also the following issue at present: after expiry of the RED transitional period, the manufacturers of radio installations will no longer be able to rely on the old directory of harmonised standards relating to the (predecessor) Directive 1999/5/EC, in order to benefit from a presumption of conformity regarding the technical requirements. The currently published standards directory for RED is unfortunately still substantially incomplete, so in the European Single Market there is an impending, serious hindrance to the placing on the market of radio installations. In light of this, the Member States and associations at European level have redoubled their efforts to find a workable solution for the economic operators. It remains to be seen if this succeeds at the very last minute. Otherwise, this issue – in the current factual and/or legal situation – can only be solved on the manufacturer side by involving a notified body in the conformity assessment procedure; this will become an additional cost factor.
At national level, the German lawmakers are considerably behind with implementation. However, the legislative procedure initiated for a new act on provision of radio installations in the market (Radio Installations Act, or FuAG) is almost complete and therefore publication in the Federal Law Gazette is expected at least before 13 June 2017.
• Details of RED: Schucht, PHi 2015, 170 f. and Menz, InTeR 2015, 82 f.;
• Specifically regarding the relevance of RED in the automotive sector: Menz, RAW 2016 p. 118 (121 f.);
• On the planned Radio Installation Act (FuAG ): Schaller, ZD-Aktuell 2017, 05450
Any Questions? Please contact: Dr. Simon Menz
Practice Group: Litigation, Arbitration & ADR