March 14, 2017

“Why What’s Going On Inside IBM’s Big, New IoT Center Could Deeply Change Our Lives,” Forbes, March 14, 2017

Most of the tech hype at the big SXSW conference this week is definitely anything and everything around virtual reality, but Internet of Things has crept into today’s chatter among attendees-in-the-know given reports that the Internet of Things (IoT) smart products platform, Evrything, just secured a solid $24.8 million in Series B funding. This comes on the heels of IBM’s recent announcement about a big IoT move that will explore how cognitive and IoT technologies will entirely transform industries. IoT is heating up, for sure. But this particular equation from IBM Watson, unlike Evrything, warrants an even closer look given the players involved and the massive impact the synergies will create in the IoT space in both the short and long term. If it succeeds, our everyday lifestyle as we know it will dramatically change forever.

According to Bryan Wheelock, Principal at Harness IP, “While existing patent law is able to protect the devices forming the skeleton of the IoT, it is not up to the task of protecting the brains of the system – the software that will make it work. While software related to improvements to computer functionality remain patentable, the exception for abstract ideas in the Supreme Court’s Alice decision, has created uncertainty over the protectability of other types of software.” He continues, “Although not all software inventions are directed to unpatentable ideas, the courts have been reluctant (and perhaps unable) to define the limits of patentability. The failure of the patent community to resolve this important issue jeopardizes the incentives that could speed the development of the IoT, and encourages developers to rely on secrecy and proprietary systems that could further impede the development of the IoT.”

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