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What makes an Electronic Communications Service? (Part 2)

On 13 June 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU“) published its ruling on the classification of Gmail in the EU following a request for a preliminary ruling from the German Courts. Gmail is a web-based email service, and is a type of “Over-The-Top” (“OTT”) service. The CJEU determined that Gmail is … Continue Reading

Football trading cards meet blockchain

Last month, Chris Stevens-Smith wrote about football cards’ new lease of life through the use of blockchain for our sister blog Sports Shorts.  The article looks at the use of crypto trading cards, and how football clubs are using technology to engage with their fans. You can read the blog here, and subscribe to Sports Shorts … Continue Reading

“Platform to Business” Draft Regulation Announced

In a press release published on February 14th, 2019, the European Commission announced, as part of the Digital Single Market strategy, a draft regulation aimed at creating a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms. The new rules are underpinned by an impact assessment that incorporates evidence and … Continue Reading

Cryptoassets: Out Of The Shadows

Cryptoassets are coming out of the shadows. Slowly but surely. Over the past decade or so, perhaps principally driven by huge gains (and losses) in the value of Bitcoin, there has been a palpable dawning recognition that cryptoassets, and the distributed ledger technologies (DLT) that underpin and encrypt them (such as Blockchain), are here to … Continue Reading

Security Token Offerings: Old Wine in a New Bottle?

If you keep an ear tuned to recent developments in digital currency and blockchain, you’ve almost certainly heard the term “Security Token Offering” (or “STO”) bandied about.  But what exactly is an STO?  Is it legally, functionally, or technologically different than an ICO?  Or is this simply old wine in a new bottle?… Continue Reading

Restricting trading restrictions: the Geo-Blocking Regulation

In early December 2018, the Geo-Blocking Regulation 2018/302 (the Regulation) came into force across the EU, with the aim of creating a single digital market by banning unjustified geo-blocking (the blocking of access to websites to individuals based in certain territories) and other forms of discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or establishment … Continue Reading

Promoting innovation through ethically driven AI

Using artificial intelligence (AI) and big data is becoming an increasing conundrum in the drive for competitive advantage. Governments and industry are all developing AI plans, but what does this mean and what are the social consequences? If you are an EU or national policymaker, what regulatory framework should you consider? Are the existing liability … Continue Reading

France’s new investment control in the cybersecurity and technology sectors

Decree No. 2058-1057 of November 29 2018 on foreign investments subject to prior approval France, who in recent years has been relatively open to overseas investors, has extended its control over foreign investment into certain ‘sensitive’ industries, particularly the IT, cybersecurity, communication and technology sectors.… Continue Reading

Securing the Internet of Things

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) – a rather vague collective term for the random mix of new technology which has now infiltrated our lives. In simple terms, it is the group of devices that are connected to the Internet. From the fridge which tells its owner that the milk is running low, the interrupting virtual … Continue Reading

Adapting the law for automotive automation

The Law Commission of England, together with the Scottish Law Commission, last week announced a consultation into the laws around the self-driving vehicles, as they help prepare for a ‘safe and effective deployment’ of such vehicles in the UK. The consultation, which is part of a three year review (running until March 2021) looks at … Continue Reading

Block Party? UK Government Considers New Ways of Clamping Down on Illegal Streaming

The UK government has recently published its response to its call for views on illicit Internet Protocol Television streaming devices or “ISDs”. The government describes ISDs as “small plug and play media servers, originally designed to allow consumers to stream legitimate content”, which have been modified with software that enables users to view “illegal content … Continue Reading

President Trump Announces Trade Actions Targeting Chinese Tech and Intellectual Property Policies

In August 2017, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer initiated an investigation to determine whether the acts, policies, and practices of the Chinese Government related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and either burden or restrict US commerce under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Decides That the Electronic Supply of Software Does Not Amount to a “Sale of Goods”

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal from the judgment of a High Court case, which concerned the question of whether a licence to use electronically supplied software amounts to the “sale of goods” under the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (“Regulations”).  This question is important, given the significant protections and post-termination payouts … Continue Reading

SEC and CFTC Offer Views on Regulation of Virtual Currency

On February 6, 2018, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo provided testimony on virtual currencies to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.  Their written statements and testimony can be found here.  Below we provide a summary of the written statements and testimony and analysis for participants in the … Continue Reading

Digital Single Market: EU negotiators agree to end unjustified geoblocking

The European Commission has issued a press release announcing that the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have reached a political agreement to end unjustified geoblocking for consumers wishing to buy products or services online within the EU.   Geoblocking occurs when a customer is treated differently based on their nationality, place of residence or location … Continue Reading

USPTO Continues Outreach on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility with Recap of Roundtable Discussions

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently released a Report summarizing the comments received during two roundtable discussions that the USPTO hosted in 2016 on patent subject matter eligibility. Since 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued four major decisions that have transformed subject matter eligibility law, and the USPTO has responded with … Continue Reading

New Bill Changes Telecoms Regulation in France

In earlier posts, we have highlighted the impact of the Digital Republic Bill in France on regulation in the digital sphere, such as open data, the online cooperative economy and access to the internet. This post highlights the changes introduced by the Bill that will particularly affect stakeholders in the telecommunications sector. The key measures … Continue Reading

FTC Is On Track With Cross-Device Tracking Report

For those of us who wonder how that Dream Vacation ad follows us from our initial Google® search on our PC to our subsequent iPad searches: the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Staff Cross-Device Tracking Report has some answers, as well as some advice.  Released on January 23, 2017, the Report gives insight into legal … Continue Reading

Drones – The Legal Challenges

Commercial use of drones is on the rise, with companies like Amazon (which recently filed a patent for a “flying warehouse”) positioning themselves at the forefront of the field. The challenge is to capitalise on drones’ commercial and technological potential, whilst navigating a complex and developing area of law.      UK regulation is comparatively flexible, although … Continue Reading

New Year’s Resolution: Make Sure Privacy Policies are Followed and Opt-Out Procedures Work

A recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settlement is a reminder that companies should make sure that they live up to their privacy policies and that their opt-out procedures work as promised.  If not, the FTC is likely to claim that the company violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by engaging in unfair and deceptive … Continue Reading

New Comprehensive Chinese Cyber Security Law Approved

This week, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress approved the new Cyber Security Law. The law, which contains 79 articles under eight chapters, is set to take effect in June 2017 and has wide-ranging implications for how companies in China handle personal data and cybersecurity issues. The law applies broadly to entities or … Continue Reading

Technology Licensing: Some Strategic Thinking

Inventors and technology owners considering licensing their technology may want to read our guidance note: ‘Technology Licensing: Some Strategic Thinking’, which is available here.  Drafted with potential licensors in mind, the note explores some of the key issues around technology licensing (that is, licensing the IP rights subsisting in an inventive product or process in … Continue Reading
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