Intellectual Property Lawyering In The Fourth Industrial Revolution (The Internet of Things)

These days it is difficult to peruse the popular media, business periodicals and legal journals without reading about businesses undergoing a “digital transformation” and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). This hype, according to one commentator, has been unmatched in the popular press since the Y2K bug! In fact, one of this year’s prominent topics at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – the annual forum attended by “the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas” – was what is termed “the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

As companies participate in this Fourth Industrial Revolution and transform their businesses by “going digital,” how do we protect intellectual property (IP) related to the IoT and its accompanying sensor hardware, wireless communications, big data, digital twin, software analytics and cloud computing advances?

With these transitions, IP law practitioners must first educate themselves and then adopt their traditional lawyering approaches in order to capture and secure rights for such IP. A failure to recognize and adapt will result in a failure of IP law practitioners’ essential job function: helping to create corporate profitability and enabling long-term business growth.

Read this paper to learn:

  • The concepts behind the IoT, the promise behind it and why you need to care
  • Technologies, and associated Communication and standardization, that enable the IoT
  • The implications of IoT when practicing intellectual property law
  • Underlying technology of IoT and specific IP strategies to employ

About the authors:

Raymond Millien, B.S., Columbia University, J.D., The George Washington University Law School, is Chief IP Counsel at GE Oil & Gas. From 2009-2016, Mr. Millien has been recognized as one of the “World’s 300 Leading IP Strategists” by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine. He may be reached at

Christopher George, B.S., M.S. and J.D., The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a shareholder in the IP law firm of Hanley, Flight & Zimmerman. Mr. George has experience in patent prosecution, litigation and counseling, focusing recently on strategic patent prosecution and portfolio development for a range of clients from large international corporations and universities to startups. He may be reached at