Directives & Standards

Almost every product needs to conform to a particular standard. Examples include designing to AEC-Q100 for the automotive industry and to IEC 60601 for medical products. Meanwhile, systems often need to conform to a range of European Directives, such as EMC or RoHS.

In this section, we keep designers up to date with developments in European Directives and in the standards to which products must be designed.

IP advice: Is this the end for the patent box?

The patent box was introducted as an incentive for companies to protect their innovations and to profit from them. The opt in scheme would potentially reduce the amount of corporation tax payable on profits earned from patented inventions to as little as 10%, though only a proportion of profits obtained from using patented rights receive the reduced corporation tax level. (For more information, enter 'patent box' in the search engine.

The military CE marking conundrum

Many manufacturers and suppliers of electronic military equipment are confused about CE marking requirements, with many presuming their products are exempt from normal commercial regulations. However, the interpretation of military equipment exemption has changed recently.

Programmable analogue makes a resurgence

Some of the earliest computers used for controlling processes featured analogue architectures because they were much more responsive than valve based logic circuits. But they needed to be custom designed and succumbed to the more flexible – and ultimately cheaper – digital computer.

IP advice: Better by design

New Electronics has partnered with leading intellectual property law firm D Young & Co LLP to offer guidance to companies on how to protect their IP. In this issue, Matthew Dick, partner, and Charlotte Musgrave, associate, look at how to protect a product's visual appearance.

Catapults provide UK’s missing link

Although still in its infancy, the Catapult programme is starting to make its presence felt. The Catapults, of which there are seven, have the role, according to Director of Catapults Simon Edmonds, of 'pulling through and commercialising faster, technology that has been developed themselves or in partnership with universities'. "They are in this middle ground between universities and early stage research, and businesses who are doing real product development."

Catapults: Should there be a tighter focus on technology?

The Catapults were created in response to a report by Dr Hermann Hauser addressing the future for what was the Technology and Innovation Centre network. The idea was to create a new structure that would allow the UK to commercialise its R&D activities more effectively.

Getting your fix: Technology addiction

In today's world, technology is a vital fix for many kinds of problem. But, increasingly, it is becoming another kind of fix – and problem – for probably millions of people worldwide. Technology brings with it a powerful addiction.

Software development: Cost vs. value

Depending upon who you talk to and the scale of the design, software development can represent around 60% of the cost of of an embedded system project. With costs rising and budgets stretched, some companies may choose to look at less expensive tools. How can the industry help developers to measure the benefits of particular tools?

P1687 finally emerges as a working standard

P1687, also known as Internal JTAG, has been on the drawing board for the best part of a decade, but if the draft standard gets approval from a Balloting Committee this month it may be published by the IEEE in Q1 of 2014. It has taken so long because it has a significant bearing on a whole host of companies – including software developmers, IP providers, chip providers, test equipment manufacturers and end users – and opinions have been strong and diverse.

IP advice: When is a threat to sue unjustified?

New Electronics has partnered with leading intellectual property law firm D Young & Co LLP to offer guidance to companies on how to protect their IP. In this issue, Claudia Rabbits, a D Young Associate, explains what is 'unjustified'.

IP advice: The shape of things to come?

Design engineers are responsible for creating innovative and revolutionary products. If they have any knowledge of intellectual property (IP), this is likely to centre on patents and designs: after all, if a product performs an inventive function and/or has a novel aesthetic appearance, it may be possible to obtain monopoly rights, either by a patent or a design registration.

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