Charles E. Root Jr.: The Internet of Things (IoT) and Implications on Intellectual Property

In 1999 Kevin Ashton of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) gave a presentation to Procter and Gamble titled "The Internet of Things". His explanation of the concept can be encapsulated in this excerpt from that presentation:

'...people have limited time, attention and accuracy - all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things - using data they gathered without any help from us - we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.' - Kevin Ashton

In the ensuing years, the network of physical objects controlled through the internet has exploded in size and scope creating a vast connected web of things, data and business intelligence. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) there will be upwards of 50 billion things connected to the internet by 2020.