In October we exhibited at the IoT Tech Expo in Santa Clara, CA, a biannual internationally hosted event for companies in the “Internet of Things” space. The Internet of Things (“IoT”) is the not-so-new buzzword describing the world of network-connected devices. Show attendees and exhibitors we chatted with mostly appeared to embrace the term, although a few pointed out that their operations were established long prior to the IoT revolution.
An intellectual property law firm at a tech show is a novelty of sorts. At the IoT Tech Expo, as in earlier events, additional explanation was sometimes needed on just how we fit in. Still, a firm like ours that handles patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights acts as a bellwether for gauging a particular industry’s interest in innovation. Compared to similar events the interest in intellectual property was very significant, hinting at the rapid development of IoT.
Intellectual property interest is often highest when a company is small and new. Established companies often have protocols in place for managing IP and are less likely to inquire at a tradeshow. From this perspective, the IoT Tech Expo appeared well-attended by young companies and startups. These new players brought questions regarding patents, trademarks, and trade secrets as well as international intellectual property rights. If there is lingering cynicism about the usefulness of the term “IoT”, it might be countered by the attraction of so many new and established companies that clearly understand how they fit in as purveyors of IoT-related technologies.