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UK and EU: Technology Law Shorts

  • United Kingdom
  • Europe
  • Commercial and IT
  • Intellectual property
  • Supply Chain
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  • Technology, Media and Telecoms


A summary of five key developments in the UK and EU that are coming on the horizon in the technology space. In our inaugural update we highlight a regulatory sandbox for DLT, an update for the semiconductor industry, the Digital Services Act, a white paper on IP and new tech and guidance for digital identities and attributes trust framework.

Commercial technology on the horizon: what do I need to know?

1. European Commission to grow its understanding of DLT

On 14 February 2023, the European Commission launched a regulatory sandbox for innovative use cases involving distributed ledger technology (DLT).  Sandboxes allow companies to test their products in a safe confidential environment whilst engaging with regulators on compliance.  A two way process, the company gains from understanding the legal and policy landscape for its project and the regulators gain a greater understanding on what the relevant DLT can offer and help shape best practice.

The sandbox will run for three years and support 20 projects per annum.  It is funded by the EU as part of their digital ambitions.  Chosen projects are selected through an expression of interest process.

Impact: Greater legal certainty for DLT from the engagement of regulators and providers.

2. UK and EU: UK Government failing the semiconductor industry whilst the EU sets to boost the EU chips industry

On 3 February 2023, the House of Commons Committee published a report highlighting the failings of the UK Government in the semiconductor industry. In particular was the failure of the Government to deliver their semiconductor strategy (originally due in autumn 2022).

Whilst we await the semi-conductor strategy, the UK Government have stated that it will focus on the objectives of growing the UK semiconductor sector, safeguarding against supply chain disruption and securing the UK against the security risks associated with semiconductor technologies. 

Meanwhile, on 2 February 2023, the European Parliament has announced that MEPs are ready to look at new laws with the European Council to boost the EU chips industry. The ‘Chips Act’ aims to “bolster technological capacity and innovation in EU Chips” and the Chips Joint Undertaking aims to increase investments for developing innovation and production in Europe.

Impact: Semiconductors are crucial to our economy and building robust supply chains.

3. EU: Update on the Digital Services Act

On 1 February 2023, the European Commission published guidance on the Digital Services Act requirement for online social media and market place platforms to publish user numbers by 17 February 2023 and six monthly thereafter.

Whilst eventually there will be legislation setting out how to calculate user numbers this is not envisaged until 2024 and therefore the Commission has drafted guidance based on frequently asked questions it has received.

On 16 February 2023, the Commission published a draft regulation for consultation.  The implementing regulation will apply in respect of investigation and enforcement activity carried out by the Commission against very large online platforms and very large online search engines.  The consultation is open until 16 March 2023 with Commission adoption planned later this year.

Impact: The guidance assists large online platforms and search engines engage with their reporting obligations whilst the legislation is awaited (not expected until 2024).

4. UK: Guidance for digital identity and attributes trust framework

On 26 January 2023, the trust framework published guidance on how organisations can become certified against the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework.

Any organisation who wants to participate must be certified and the guidance sets out the certification process, which covers the whole process from start to finish, including ongoing assessments.

Impact: The trust framework is a set of developing rules and standards designed “to establish trust in digital identity products in the UK”.  At beta version stage,  it represents a direction of travel towards that UK ambition.

5. EUIPO discussion paper explores the relationship of intellectual property and new tech

On 26 January 2023, The European Union Intellectual Property Office published a white paper on IP Infringement and Enforcement. This edition reviews recent and emerging tech  and considers how they can be used to assist IP protection and, conversely, how they can be used by IP infringers to assist in production of counterfeits, in IP-related cyber fraud, etc. The paper also considers the impact of in-scope tech on environmental protection, sustainable development and climate change.

Impact: This paper highlight the benefits and challenges new tech presents from an IP perspective with the aim of improving knowledge and highlighting best practice.

Edited by Clare Johnston in our knowledge team

Further reading

This article is intended to give you a general overview of legal developments in certain areas. It is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be comprehensive or to constitute advice on which you may rely.

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