Ofcom statement on universal services, EUIPO/EURid collaboration, DCMS report, European Commission Brexit readiness notices and EURid Brexit notice in this week’s round-up of techlaw news from the past week.
Ofcom publishes statement on compensating providers delivering universal services
Ofcom has made its decision on the funding regulations on compensating providers for universal services. A universal service obligation for home phone services has been in place since 2003. In March 2018 the UK government introduced legislation for a broadband USO. It is Ofcom’s role to implement the broadband USO. In June 2019, it appointed BT and Kingston Communications (KCOM) to deliver broadband USO connections and services, and set the conditions that will apply to them. Consumers have had the ability to request the USO from BT or KCOM since 20 March 2020. As the ‘Universal Service Providers’, BT and KCOM are entitled to be compensated for any costs that it would not be appropriate for them to cover. Ofcom has set out the rules and procedures the providers should follow to make a claim for any unfair costs involved in providing a universal service. These procedures will apply to the broadband USO, but also to any other universal service obligations.
Closer collaboration announced between the EUIPO and EURid
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and EURid, the domain name registry for the .eu, .?? and .e? top-level domains, have announced that they will collaborate more closely to support trade mark and domain name applicants and owners, particularly SMEs. Under a new work programme, the EUIPO and EURid will explore the possibility of implementing a reciprocal process when a .eu domain name is registered, allowing holders to see if a trade mark with a similar name is available at the EUIPO. Additionally, both organisations will work on a common study on application behaviour, to see whether trade marks or domain names are registered first. The study will assist in tackling fraudulent domain names and registrations done in bad faith. Work will also begin on a feasibility study to create a tool to inform users of the availability of the terms they are searching for both as a trade mark and as a domain name.
New report claims UK is a world leader in online safety innovation
The DCMS has published an independent study, ‘Safer technology, safer users: The UK as a world leader in Safety Tech’. It highlights significant growth within the sector, with the number of dedicated online safety firms doubling in the last five years and investment increasing more than eight-fold in 2019, making it a record year. The sector consists of companies in fields such as data and computer science providing a range of tech solutions and applications to help increase safety on websites and in apps and video games such as those allowing user-generated content and interactions. In addition, the UK government has announced: a Safety Tech Innovation Network, co-funded by Nominet, to launch later in 2020. This will be the world’s first forum for safety tech providers to collaborate and promote their work; a virtual safety tech expo to showcase safety tech to the world; and a safety tech export pilot, run by the Department for International Trade, to include a directory of UK safety tech organisations and exploratory international missions - which can be virtual if necessary.
EURid issues updated Brexit notice
EURid has issued an update regarding the Brexit notice and the treatment of the .eu domain. During the transition period, undertakings and organisations established in the UK and UK residents and citizens will continue to be able to hold and register a .eu domain name. After the end of the transition period: UK undertakings or organisations established in the UK but not in the EU, UK citizens who are not resident of a EU member state, and UK residents who are not EU citizens (hereinafter ‘UK registrants’) will no longer be eligible to hold a .eu domain name. EU citizens who are residing in the UK will remain eligible to hold a .eu domain name after the end of the transition period. They will have to update their registration data and prove their EU citizenship. UK citizens residing in a EU member state will remain eligible to hold a .eu domain name after the end of the transition period. However, UK citizens residing outside of the EU member states, will no longer be eligible to hold a .eu domain name after the end of the transition period.
European Commission publishes Brexit readiness notices
The European Commission has published a series of updated stakeholder notices to help with preparations for the end of the transition period. The notices include .eu domain names, audio-visual services, geo-blocking, e-signatures and e-commerce.