[Discuss] discuss Digest, Vol 9, Issue 15

Devlin Thyne dthyne at dh-global.com
Thu Feb 28 23:50:31 UTC 2013

Consider the liability of an FCC-certified radio module that is released 
as OSHW. If someone makes a copy of the module, they have to apply for 
their own grantee code and do all the necessary certifications in order 
to market that copy. But suppose they did not, and just copied the FCC 
ID but due to some issue during manufacture or programming, broke it in 
such a way that it violated the FCC rules? Then they release it into the 
wild. Anyone can see the copied FCC ID, and look up the grantee code 
that traces back to the original designer.

The liability of releasing the module as OSHW? I'd say a thorough FCC 
investigation might be pretty disruptive to business.

Mitigation? Remove aspects of source files that are specific to the 
designer and manufacturer such as the logo, company name, and FCC ID. 
Setup and establish a documented process for testing and recording 
serial numbers of each module prior to shipment. Be on the lookout for 
wildcat copies. Document business procedures with regular accredited 
establishment reviews. Except for the first, this is all the standard 
covering of hindquarters that most businesses end up having to do anyways.

This is just my perspective as an engineer from such a project.


On 02/28/2013 04:55 PM, malcolm stanley wrote:
> Tom, this whole discussion is a staggering example of customer
> development and I am in awe of your ability to draw people out so
> effectively. +1 to you for keeping this going so productively.
> when you say
> /    "I've spoken to multiple companies who've told me they can't afford
> to do open products due to the cost of liability. How do you answer
> those?"./
> Can't address the concerns until they are at least quantified.
> Can you clarify the liabilities of concern? Are they IP issues? Safety
> issues? or issues of another nature?

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