• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
  • Our team of leading IP advisors deliver cost-effective, strategic and commercial advice to ensure that your IP assets are protected and leveraged to add real value to your business.
  • Our litigation practice advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights and commercial disputes in the technology sector.
  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
  • We work alongside companies, many with disruptive technologies, that seek funding, as well as with the venture capital firms, institutional investors and corporate ventures that want to invest in exciting business opportunities.
  • Our regulatory specialists work alongside Kemp Little’s corporate and commercial professionals to help meet their compliance obligations.
  • With a service that is commercial and responsive to our clients’ needs, you will find our tax advice easy to understand, cost-effective and geared towards maximising your tax benefits.
  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

Drone popularity soars - but safety issues remain unresolved

2016 has seen the popularity of drones continue to grow but, as drone sales increase, concerns over safety have also grown.

In September a passenger plane was in a near-miss with a drone as it came in to land at Birmingham Airport.[1]   The UK Airprox Board (UKAB) report states that “the drone operator, by operating at that position and altitude [around 500ft] on the approach path to Birmingham airport, had flown the drone into conflict and had endangered the DH8 and its passengers."  The incident followed near-misses at Manchester and London earlier in the year[2], and the unauthorised operation of drones in close proximity to commercial airlines and airports is on the rise.

These events were some of 60 near-misses in British skies over the last twelve months, according to UKAB data. This number has risen from 6 incidents in 2014 and 29 in 2015. 

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules require that drones may not be operated above 400ft nor in proximity to airports.  

The increase in near-misses tracks the growing popularity of the devices.  Although reliable sales data is unavailable in the U.K. at present, in the U.S. the Federal Aviation Authority reported that twice as many drones were expected to be sold in 2016 compared to the previous year.[3]  In the U.K., Maplin cited greater drone sales as contributing to its increase in sales against the previous year.[4]  The growth in drone sales amongst hobbyists corresponds to increased investment by commercial operators, as the number registered with the CAA grew from around 1,300 companies at the end of 2015 to 2,380 at the beginning of 2017.[5]

In response to concerns over safety, the government has considered introducing new laws to regulate the technology.

Towards the end of 2016, the CAA produced a “Dronecode” attempting to simplify the rules for hobbyists in advance of the expected clamour for the must-have Christmas gift.[6]  The release of the Dronecode comes as the government continues its plans to introduce comprehensive regulation to address safety concerns, a process which commenced with a wide-ranging public dialogue which was completed in February 2016.[7]

The Department for Transport is now inviting responses to its public consultation[8], which sets out some detailed proposals, and which may ultimately give rise to new legislation.  The consultation is open until 15 March 2017.

The consultation focusses, in particular, on three key areas and which are likely to be impacted by any future regulation:

  • Registration of all drone users (presently there is a requirement for all commercial drone operators to register with the CAA).
  • Regulate the provision of guidance to drone operators to ensure that operators are aware of the Dronecode and other applicable rules.
  • Require drone users to take out insurance (noting that EC Regulation 785/2004 already requires all drone operators to take out insurance unless the drone is used for leisure and weighs less than 20kg).

Parties with an interest in drone regulation, whether looking to enhance or dilute such regulation, should use the coming weeks to make their views known as part of the consultation.

To read more on existing drone regulations, please refer to our article Drone law: heading into turbulence? 

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-38774718

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/09/two-near-misses-renew-fears-drones-major-air-accident-manchester-london

[3] http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/ct-drone-sales-christmas-wp-bsi-20161224-story.html

[4] http://www.toynews-online.biz/news/read/maplin-rides-high-on-uk-s-drones-demand/045878

[5] http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/RptUAVcurrent20170117.pdf

[6] http://dronesafe.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Dronecode.pdf

[7] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/579550/drones-uk-public-dialogue.pdf

[8] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/579562/consultation-on-the-safe-use-of-drones.pdf

Contact our experts for further advice

Calum Murray, James Bellamy