An ever increasing range of objects, from cars and drones, to smart meters and thermostats, to wearables and medical implants, now connect to the Internet for remote sensing and control, as well as other enhanced capabilities. This is the Internet of Things (IoT), and it is poised to become a major component of the world economy over the next decade, with forecasts estimating a market in the trillions of dollars. This huge growth of Internet connected devices creates a host of legal challenges and opportunities.
Orrick has a cross-practice and international team to focus on the IoT issues that your company will face in innovating and disrupting the market. Companies are already navigating unique legal issues related to intellectual property, data ownership, data privacy, and cyber security, and with skilled counsel, they will be well-positioned to grow in the IoT economy. Orrick’s IoT team can help, and has experience in areas such as:
- Intellectual Property - Rapidly developing markets like the IoT tend to breed intellectual property litigation as firms jockey for position and opportunistic litigants chase the money. Orrick’s internationally recognized intellectual property litigators have extensive experience in the patent and trade secret issues that these cases will likely present. Orrick’s lawyers are also ready to advise your efforts to establish your IoT intellectual property portfolio, either through internal R&D or external acquisition. Orrick’s lawyers can help you develop a program to ensure you are capturing the most valuable IP assets in your organization and provide the diligence required to ensure you are getting what you pay for in your IP acquisitions.
- Standards - There are already a significant number of standards directed to the IoT, which cover issues such as communication infrastructure and device interoperability. Given the recent history with 3G and LTE, there likely will be substantial disputes over the patented technology adopted for those standards and the licensing of standards-essential patents (SEPs) on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Our team is on the forefront of thought leadership on the contract, patent and antitrust issues arising from SEPs and FRAND. We also have significant experience advising both SEP owners and potential licensees on the unique legal requirements arising from standards adoption and SEP licensing, and have litigated some of the leading cases that will serve as the foundational beacons for IoT patent licensing disputes.
- Data Privacy - The IoT leverages massive amounts of data and data analytic engines across an ecosystem that involves not only device makers and consumers, but a host of intermediaries and service providers such as marketers, software providers, component developers, cloud storage and data processing vendors, and other critical players. Issues of consumer privacy and choice, international data transfers, global data localization and enforcement priorities are complex and evolving rapidly, and are even more dynamic in the IoT context. Our technology-savvy team offers unparalleled insights into business models that leverage data in IoT contexts, as well as the maze of regulatory enforcement agendas and protocols and private litigant risks and trends.
- Cyber Security - The IoT ecosystem greatly expands the attack surface available to hackers given the sheer volume of interconnected entities, data sharing, and access points. Sound risk identification, management, governance and incident response capabilities are critical to successfully commercializing the IoT and navigating global cyber enforcement regimes. Our team regularly partners with leading tech companies on proactive risk assessments, security program development, cybersecurity insurance, breach incident planning and tabletop simulations, all to help them be prepared for the inevitable breach and to be well-positioned to respond quickly, efficiently, and while minimizing legal risk and exposure.
- Data Ownership – The data generated by the IoT may be a valuable asset that you will want to leverage and monetize. Orrick’s technology lawyers can help you to think strategically about how to set up your relationships with upstream data providers and downstream data users so that you can have the most flexibility and draw the most value from the data your IoT products and services generate.