Network & Consumer Equipment

In a marketplace for communications network and consumer equipment that is evolving at a swift pace, regulators have become increasingly vigilant in ensuring that consumer interests are protected. Wilkinson Barker Knauer attorneys provide regulatory counsel and transactional support to a wide range of equipment manufacturers who seek to remain on the leading edge of innovation, as well as to their respective trade associations. The firm represents major manufacturers of network equipment, including routers, switches, servers, fiber optic and coaxial cable, wireless base stations, repeaters, distributed antenna systems, and satellite earth stations. Our attorneys also represent large and small manufacturers of consumer premises equipment, such as mobile wireless handsets, cordless phones, tablets, PCs, television sets, gaming systems, and set-top boxes and other navigation devices. Our clients also include manufacturers of automated metering infrastructure equipment, home automation and energy management devices, police radar, RFID tags, hearing aids, and other medical equipment.

The firm represents clients in rulemakings applicable to equipment manufacturers or distributors, including issues such as spectrum allocation, accessibility by individuals with disabilities, network management, and the establishment of technical standards and requirements. We help clients obtain spectrum allocations for specialized purposes and seek modifications or waivers of existing FCC rules. We also provide guidance on the FCC’s equipment authorization process and on compliance with technical and labeling requirements, as well as marketing and importation restrictions imposed on devices subject to the equipment authorization process. We advise clients on the FCC’s Part 15 rules governing unlicensed devices and assist manufacturers of wireless handsets with the FCC’s rules governing emissions and hearing aid compatibility (HAC). More broadly, Wilkinson Barker attorneys help equipment manufacturers understand regulatory requirements that are applicable to manufacturers’ service provider customers, enabling manufacturers to anticipate expectations that may be placed on them as vendors and to plan for likely regulatory developments during the equipment design process. We also advise consumer equipment providers on the federal and state regulatory issues related to the deployment of demand response, home energy management and other smart grid technologies. Similarly, we assist non-manufacturer firm clients, such as broadcasters, cable and satellite providers, wireless carriers, and Internet access providers to understand the rules applicable to the network and consumer equipment they deploy.

As part of the firm’s transactional work for clients, we assist clients in making post-transaction notifications of transfers of control of FCC equipment authorizations. We also negotiate licensing and other technology services agreements on behalf of equipment manufacturers, including equipment purchase agreements and agreements related to preinstalled software resident on consumer handsets.

Wilkinson Barker attorneys have represented clients in FCC investigations and enforcement proceedings involving communications equipment, including complaints about disability access and HAC, FCC investigations regarding V-chip and other video regulations and compliance with technical and labeling requirements.