The Internet of Things and the issue of IP rights (Part 2)

Thorny Intellectual Property issues are likely to make cooperation between corporate giants a utopian ideal

Introduction

As was discussed in Part 1 of this article, “The Internet of Things” describes the growing number of everyday objects that have been embedded with unique identifiers and technology that enables them to sense and communicate. Power-efficient chips, manufactured by companies like Intel, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, are making it cheaper than ever for these objects to connect to the Internet. And thanks to the latest version of Internet Protocol (IP), IPv6, it is now possible for each of these things to obtain its own IP address. Thus, the Internet of Things essentially represents a union of wireless technologies, the internet and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) — such as those developed by Bosch.

Issues related to the patenting of standardized technology

If this standardized technology is patented, however, third-party users could be forced to either infringe on these patents, or to pay exorbitant license fees. Such a situation could create a substantial barrier to entry to the Internet of Things. In many other technology industries, the owners of standard essential patents (SEPs) are obligated to offer non-exclusive licenses to prospective licensees on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms in order to avoid this problem.

Contributing Author

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John F. O'Rourke

John F. O'Rourke is a registered patent attorney and inventor at WHGC, P.L.C. He has nearly 40 years of overall experience in the applied...

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Contributing Author

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Patrick Soon

Patrick Soon is an attorney at WHGC, P.L.C. whose practice focuses on intellectual property. Outside of his work at WHGC, Mr. Soon volunteers for...

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