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Fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0

Legal Patent World

Insights by José Santacroce, Head of Patent Department at Moeller IP

Right now we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution, the so-called “Industry 4.0”.

The first three industrial revolutions were powered by steam, electricity and electronics, respectively. Industry 4.0 is characterized by the combined effects of massive data volumes (big data), powerful computer processing, computers ubiquitous and extremely fast connectivity to millions of people and devices, and highly advanced means for transferring the results to the physical world.

Underpinning these is a variety of rapidly developing technologies such as 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR), Cloud Computing and Robotics.

In fact, Industry 4.0 will give us a computer in every object, and they are all going to be connected witch each other, it will constitute a network of physical objects: devices, clothes, vehicles, buildings, robots, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, enabling these devices to collect and exchange data through a communication network referred to as the Cloud.

Implications for IP

The implementation of advances in Industry 4.0 technologies will rely heavily on software, therefore software patents or Computer-Implemented Inventions (CII) will play a crucial role not only in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) but also in many other industrial sectors such as medical technology and vehicles.

Furthermore, Industry 4.0 will produce a number of issues for the patent world, including how to deal with the ever-shortening product cycles, which will increase pressure regarding patent office pendency times.  Other challenges will be distributed processing, increasingly virtualized inventions causing territorial questions, and simply the multitude of data stakeholders involved.

Industry 4.0 adds a serious complication to patent licensing and enforcement. We will continue to update you on this important topic.


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