FCC Certification - Change in ID

About the FCC change in ID filing A.K.A. “private labeling”, what is it and how do you do it?

What is Private Labeling?

The term “private label”, in the context of FCC approvals, once referred to a device that would be marketed under multiple listings. That is to say, a device having more than one trade name or model number, but was essentially identical. The rules required that a change in equipment type identification or model number required a new FCC identifier. The practice was very common among reference designs using specific chipsets to be “pre-approved” under an original equipment grant by the manufacturer, and then marketed and sold by many other 3rd party equipment vendors. Following an abbreviated procedure, the original filing would be referenced, so as to avoid repeating unnecessary testing, and a new grant would be issued under the new applicant’s name, provided all other aspects of the certified device remained the same. The term “private label” was dropped from the FCC rules long ago, however this practice is still common today.

While today a manufacturer can market the same equipment under multiple model numbers or trade names without the need to apply for a new grant, if a 3rd party wishes to market the product under their own FCC identifier, they will need to obtain a new grant of equipment authorization. The process can be streamlined somewhat, and is similar to what was once known as a “private label”, only now it’s referred to as a “Change in FCC ID filing” or simply a Section 2.933 filing.

Why pursue a private label

All information that is part of an application for certification becomes public information, unless it qualifies and is requested that certain information be held confidential. Prior to the World Wide Web, it was difficult and time consuming to acquire information about an application filing, however today it is a simple matter to download complete technical details, photographs and data, or any other non-confidential documentation from the FCC web site about a particular filing, you just need to know the FCC ID. The test report is one item that cannot be kept confidential.

Whether as a marketing strategy or other business reasons some 3rd parties wish to obscure the suppliers of the previously certified device they are about to sell. Some 3rd parties choose to re-certify an already approved device under the 3rd party name and provide a new test report for this reason. While it is still possible to find information on the original supplier, it takes a bit more effort to do so.

Another reason could be that an original filing may need to be expanded to include other operating environments. The 3rd party acquiring a change in ID may subsequently file a Class II permissive change to amend a grant in these situations. Otherwise the original party must perform the permissive change.

Any design change which falls outside the scope of a permissive change will require a complete application. If the intent is to acquire a change in ID, any design changes that fall within the scope of a permissive change, should be addressed after the ID change is completed as a permissive change.

How to file for a new grant for an approved device or module

Obtaining a change in ID for a device previously certified, requires the consent of the original grantee. The new grantee must provide documentation to this concurrence of the original grantee.

Keep in mind, the new party becomes the responsible party with respect to compliance requirements with all applicable FCC rules. The original grant conveys no vested or transferable conditions. The new 3rd party must follow all engineering and operational guidelines specified by the original grantee.

In most cases, and unless specifically requested, new applications filed for the purpose of a change in FCC ID need not be accompanied by a resubmission of measurement or test data. However the applicant shall provide a statement to the following

  • The original identification used on the equipment prior to the change in identification.

  • The date of the original grant of the equipment authorization.

  • How the equipment bearing the modified identification differs from the original equipment.

  • Whether the original test results continue to be representative of and applicable to the equipment bearing the changed identification.

  • Photographs showing the exterior appearance of the equipment including operating controls available to the user.

  • Photo of the exterior showing the ID label.

  • Construction photos may not be needed unless requested.

Other considerations if using original test report;
  • New applicant provides statement that the test results represent new application and a description explaining how the report accurately represents the new application

  • All portions for original test report must represent the new device entirely (no partial application of results)

  • Any changes to hardware, hosts, or co-location configuration will require, if applicable, new SAR evaluation and emission testing

Other considerations for devices subject to DFS
  • An attestation statement from the applicant stating that as the grantee they are responsible for changes to the device and will not alter or offer any capabilities that will modify DFS settings.

  • A complete User’s Manual from the new grantee that meets all the FCC DFS requirements.

  • A letter exhibit showing how the device meets the DFS and software configuration requirements.

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