New FCC Rules Could Threaten RFID, IoT Development

The agency's new equipment-authorization rules impact where manufacturers can cost-effectively conduct R&D for devices certified for sale in the United States.
By Ronald E. Quirk Jr.

Other issues exist with the proposed rules, which hopefully will be clarified by the FCC. For example, the agency has provided no guidance as to whether a company based in the United States or an MRA country that has a subsidiary located in a non-MRA nation may utilize that subsidiary's test data for certification purposes.

Moreover, while some non-MRA countries are engaged in talks with the United States to implement MRAs, many nations are simply not interested in pursuing MRAs, due to, among other things, concern for protecting their own manufacturing industries.

Accordingly, for RF equipment manufacturers that wish to conduct testing overseas and sell their products in the United States, it is imperative that they ensure the labs they are using are duly accredited, and that their test results are acceptable to the FCC. U.S. manufacturers that wish to market their products in a non-MRA country must, in most cases, test those goods in that specific country and receive approval from that nation's CAB.

Approval from a specific country's CAB is typically required for countries with MRAs with the United States, even if they accept the other nation's test data. There are a few exceptions; some countries accept FCC equipment approval as proof of compliance.

The regulatory challenges facing RF equipment manufacturers, as exemplified in this article, are complex, and new issues will arise as IoT adoption continues to proliferate. Consultation with knowledgeable consultants or counsel would be helpful to any manufacturer looking to avail itself of the opportunities in the emerging global IoT marketplace.

Ronald E. Quirk Jr., a senior managing attorney at Marashlian & Donahue LLC, The CommLaw Group, focuses his practice on federal, state and international telecommunications regulation and policy, with a particular expertise in assisting clients in navigating the complex labyrinths of RF equipment authorization and enforcement processes around the world. His career has spanned more than 20 years, including several years at AMLAW 100 firms and the FCC. He can be reached at or (703) 714-1305. If you would like additional information concerning the issues covered herein, or to obtain a hard copy of a comprehensive U.S. or Global RF Equipment Regulatory Compliance Guide, please contact the author.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should not act upon the information in this article without seeking professional counsel.

Simply enter a question for our experts.
Sign up for the RFID Journal Newsletter
We will never sell or share your information
RFID Journal LIVE! RFID in Health Care LIVE! LatAm LIVE! Brasil LIVE! Europe RFID Connect Virtual Events RFID Journal Awards Webinars Presentations