Firm Advises Royal National Institute of Blind People on Innovative Smart Meter Project

07 Dec 2016

International law firm Simmons & Simmons has advised Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), on a pro bono basis, on the development and nationwide roll-out of accessible smart meters for the blind and partially-sighted.

Energy UK* has directed the collaboration with RNIB and Green Energy Options (GEO) to develop GEO’s smart meters to optimise them for the blind and partially-sighted.

The team at Simmons & Simmons advised RNIB on licensing their existing text-to-speech functionality, intellectual property and the ownership of the visual and tactile functionality which would be developed for the smart meters.

After two years of negotiations, development is in progress and RNIB-approved smart meters should be in the home across the country in the not-too-distant future.

Richard Binns, intellectual property partner at the firm, commented: “This piece of work provided the firm with a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our market leading intellectual property expertise in support of an initiative that will make all the difference to those who are blind and partially-sighted in the community. We are so pleased that we were able to be a part of this innovative solution.”

Commenting on the Simmons & Simmons advice, Amelia Billington of RNIB said: “It is crucial that RNIB is able to work with a range of partners to develop trusted, accessible products and best value for our customers. We couldn’t have achieved this without the expertise and dedication of the team at Simmons & Simmons and we want to thank them for their continued support towards achieving our goal of making daily life better for everyone with sight loss.”

The RNIB is one of Simmons & Simmons’ key pro bono partnerships. In the past year we have also carried out pro bono work for the RNIB in relation to ICT related partnership agreements, dispute resolution and disposal of assets.

The Simmons & Simmons team was led by Richard Binns, assisted by Jack Simmons.

* The trade association for the UK energy industry.


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