This Week’s Techlaw News Round-Up

April 5, 2024

UK law

Patents Court refuses interim declaration that draft licence is FRAND

The Patents Court has recently issued its judgment in the case of Lenovo Group Limited and others v Interdigital Technology Corporation and others [2024] EWHC 596 (Ch).  It refused Lenovo’s application for a declaration that a proposed draft interim licence of various cellular standard essential patents (SEPs) would be fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND). The judge saw “real difficulties in determining on an interim basis that the Interim Licence is FRAND. I consider that question likely to be capable of determination only on a final basis. That in itself is a strong indication that the Interim Declaration should not be made. Even if that objection can be overcome, I consider I should make the Interim Declaration only if I have a high degree of assurance that the Interim Licence is FRAND…I do not have that high degree of assurance.” The court also refused Interdigital’s application to stay part of the proceedings which were argued to overlap with German proceedings with respect to its various SEPs.

DSIT announces UK-US Memorandum of Understanding on AI safety

In November 2023, the UK and US governments announced the creation of their respective AI Safety Institutes and confirmed their intention to work together toward the safe, secure, and trustworthy development and use of advanced AI. They have now issued a Memorandum of Understanding which provides a more detailed basis for both countries to build upon in realising their shared goals on AI safety, through a partnership on AI safety between the two countries’ Institutes. The partners will continue to identify and develop new opportunities for collaboration, on an ongoing basis, with a view to increasing alignment over time.

Government publishes guidance on responsible AI in recruitment processes

The UK government has published guidance on responsible AI in recruitment.  It focuses on assurance good practice for the procurement and deployment of AI systems for HR and recruitment. It specifically focuses on technologies used in the hiring process, such as sourcing, screening, interview and selection. It says that adopting AI‑enabled tools in HR and recruitment processes offers automation and simplification of existing processes. However, these technologies also pose novel risks, including perpetuating existing biases, digital exclusion, and discriminatory job advertising and targeting. Tools for trustworthy AI, including AI assurance mechanisms and global technical standards, can play a vital role in managing these risks and building trust. The guidance is written for a non-technical audience and is appropriate for organisations with or without a comprehensive AI strategy. 

DSIT publishes responsible AI toolkit

In addition, the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology has published an AI toolkit. It aims to support organisations and practitioners to develop and deploy AI systems safely and responsibly. The toolkit was developed by the Responsible Technology Adoption Unit and will be updated over time with new resources.

Ofgem issues call for inputs on AI in the energy sector

Ofgem is seeking input on how AI should be used responsibly and safely in the energy sector to encourage more innovation. It thinks that the use of AI within the energy sector can help improve planning, management and real-time operation of the energy system. AI is already being used by the energy sector across Great Britain. It is creating efficiencies; however, it also has challenges and risks. DSIT has set out what regulators should do to make sure that the sectors they regulate follow the UKs AI regulatory principles in their “A Pro-Innovation Approach to AI Regulation” AI White Paper.  As the energy regulator for Great Britain, Ofgem is providing an outline of its strategic approach to the use of AI and what it aims to do in line with those principles. Ofcom will be measured by the Office of AI, part of DSIT, on how it guides the energy sector to use AI responsibly, to enable innovation through good practice. The proposed recommendations in the call for input set out how it intends to deal with both the opportunities and risks.  The call for unput closes on 17 May 2024.

CMA issues update in Vodafone/Three merger inquiry

The CMA has referred the anticipated joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc and CK Hutchison Holdings Limited concerning Vodafone Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited for an in-depth investigation, on the basis that, on the information currently available to it, it is or may be the case that the merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the UK.

ICO joins global data protection and privacy enforcement programme

The ICO has joined a new international multilateral agreement with the Global Cooperation Arrangement for Privacy Enforcement (Global CAPE) to cooperate in cross-border data protection and privacy enforcement. As part of the Global CAPE, the ICO will be able to help with investigations and share information with member countries without having to enter separate memorandums of understanding with each nation. Global CAPE members include the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, and Chinese Taipei. Global CAPE was created to supplement the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Cross-border Privacy Rules (APEC CBPR), which also facilitates cooperation and assistance in privacy and data security investigations among APEC’s Asian Pacific countries. The new arrangement allows for participation by countries outside the Asia Pacific area.