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European Directive 1999/5/EC on Telecommunication-Hardware

European Directive 1999/5/EC on Telecommunication-Hardware
Originally published: Wed, April 12, 2000.

by Kerstin Grote*

On April 8th, 2000 Germany, implemented the European Directive 1999/5/EC, for "Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment and the Mutual Recognition of Conformity". The directive is intended to strengthen competition in the European market for telecommunication terminal equipment. Before this directive, telecommunication terminal equipment required licencing by the German Registration Office for Telecommunication and Postal Service.

The English language version of the directive is published at

Now the manufacturer of such equipment is directly responsible for meeting any applicable standards and has to guarantee consumer safety and fault free operation.

The responsibilities of the registration office are now limited to monitoring the market and to taking action only in the event that a manufacturer should violate the directive. The key provision of the directive is 12 (1), which states:

(1) Apparatus complying with all relevant essential requirements shall bear the EC conformity marking referred to in Annex VII. It shall be affixed under the responsibility of the manufacturer, his authorized representative within the Community or the person responsible for placing the apparatus on the market. Where the procedures identified in Annex III, IV or V are used, the marking shall be accompanied by the identification number of the notified body referred to in Article 11(1). Radio equipment shall in addition be accompanied by the equipment class identifier where such indentifier has been assigned. Any other marking may be affixed to the equipment provided that the visibility and legibility of the EC marking is not thereby reduced.

With respect to labels required under the laws of other jurisdictions, 12 (2) through (4) provide:

(2) No apparatus, whether or not it complies with the relevant essential requirements, may bear any other marking which is likely to deceive third parties as to the meaning and form of the EC marking specified in Annex VII.

(3) The competent Member State shall take appropriate action against any person who has affixed a marking not in conformity with paragraphs 1 and 2. If the person who affixed the marking is not identifiable, appropriate action may be taken against the holder of the apparatus at the time when non-compliance was discovered.

(4) Apparatus shall be identified by the manufacturer by means of type, batch and/or serial numbers and by the name of the manufacturer or the person responsible for placing the apparatus on the market.

On April 4th, 2000, Mr. Matthias Kurth, Vicepresident of the German Registration Office, announced that his office will inform the producers about the new European Rule with information events and through its webpage.

*Kerstin Grote received her law degree from University of Hannover, Germany, in 1997. In the summer of 2000 she was interning with Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, LLP, Washington D.C.