In what is expected to be one of the last meetings under the leadership of current Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Ajit Pai, the agency will consider adopting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that proposes to modify certain aspects of the FCC’s device authorization rules.  Specifically, the NPRM will propose to allow the importation and conditional marketing and sales of radiofrequency (“RF”) devices that have not yet been approved under the FCC’s rules.  If the rule is ultimately changed, that means companies marketing RF devices for the first time will have the same flexibility enjoyed by some car companies and many other manufacturers to offer a product to the public before it actually can be shipped for use.

The NPRM, which has been released in draft form, proposes to revise the FCC’s device authorization rules to allow the importation of limited quantities of RF devices prior to authorization for pre-sale activities, including imaging, packaging, and delivery to retail locations.  Perhaps most significantly, it also proposes rule revisions that would allow conditional sales, but not delivery, of RF devices to consumers prior to authorization.  Currently, the FCC’s rules permit conditional sales only to wholesalers and retailers.

These rule proposals are consistent with a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the Consumer Technology Association (“CTA”) last June.  As we discussed in our earlier post, CTA’s petition urged the FCC to revise its device authorization rules to allow importation and conditional marketing and sales of RF devices prior to authorization.  Although the NPRM proposes to grant the petition by initiating a rulemaking, it rejects CTA’s request for an interim waiver of the current rules during the pendency of the rulemaking proceeding.

The FCC will vote on the NPRM on December 10.