EU patent languages
The European Commission is proposing a Council Regulation that will allow future EU Patents to be granted in English, French or German, with claims in all three languages, regardless of where the patent is to be in force. If carried, it would no longer be necessary for the patent owner to have further translations prepared in order for the patent to be validated in countries for which English, French or German is not the national language (save where there is a dispute before a court). This will reduce the cost of obtaining pan-European patent protection for a patentee, by eliminating the requirement to submit translations in each designated state’s language. The proposal is seen as an attempt to reinvigorate progress towards a European-wide patent system.
UK Digital Radio Plan
The UK Government is seeking to resolve the difficulties arising from switching over to digital radio through its Digital Radio Plan. The plan does not include a specific date for the switchover but supports 2015, which is the target date for industry. Parts of the plan include ensuring DAB coverage matches the present FM coverage and that rural areas do not suffer.
UK protection of personal information
The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has published an online code of practice to give guidance on how to protect personal information. It is intended to provide assistance to small businesses that are online and to consumers and covers good practice in collecting and using personal data online, privacy options when using browsers, and in using information collected from children.
Agreement on financial message data
The European Parliament has approved the five-year SWIFT-II agreement over the transfer of financial message data between the US and the EU. The agreement covers access to the information by investigatory and regulatory bodies engaged in combating fraud and terrorism. The agreement has already been criticised for not providing proper protection for EU citizens. The agreement will be renewed automatically on an annual basis unless it is terminated by either party.
OfCom debates bandwidth reservation for London Olympics
OfCom, the UK’s telecommunications regulator, has begun a consultation process relating to the reservation of the 2500-2690 MHz spectrum band for use during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The 2.6 GHz band is suitable for wireless camera transmissions and the anticipated demand for extra bandwidth means OfCom is willing to allocate frequencies not yet taken up by mobile and wireless broadband services.