Internet of Things (IoT) Law and IoT Agreements
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Our cities and our homes are increasingly interconnected, mainly thanks to the advancement in the Internet of Things (IoT). From smart lightbulbs and fridges, to trashcans and carparks, this is a fast-growing industry. On top of this, the Australian Department of Infrastructure has developed a Smart Cities Plan calling for smarter technology to revolutionise our cities as we know them.
In light of how integral these technologies are becoming to our day-to-day lives, it is more important than ever to evaluate the legal rights, responsibilities and relationships needing to be considered when developing these products. That’s why having a well-drafted IoT Agreement is integral when launching an IoT product. Even more so when you consider the complexity of covering the hardware, software and services that all make up your product.
If you are considering developing, or have already created, the next great IoT product, we’ve written up some key points on Internet of Things IoT Law for you to consider.
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Internet of Things (IoT) Law – Software License
IoT software licences tend to cover SaaS applications, firmware and provisioning apps.
Provisions for software licences are integral to most IoT transactions. Within your product you likely have multiple components that need to be covered including your: SaaS Application, Provisioning Software and Firmware. You will need to be able to delineate each component and its corresponding rights and responsibilities. Additionally, having a well-drafted software license should help to limit your liability and protect you for any potential issues arising from.
Typically, a software licence will include provisions relating to:
- access to software;
- user’s rights and obligations;
- payment of fees;
- privacy; and
- rights to and effect of termination.
Internet of Things (IoT) Law – Sensors and Actuators
Consider the what provisions are required for the sale and distribution of your hardware.
The next important component of your IoT Agreement relates to your hardware. A major consideration is stipulating the extent of your liability for product faults and what arrangements will be made if they arise. You may consider incorporating a manufacturer’s warranty into the agreement and, to the maximum extent permitted by law, limit liability to no more than that warranty offers.
Other provisions will need to address delivery arrangements and at what point transfer of title and risk of the hardware occurs.
Internet of Things (IoT) Law – Services Agreements
IoT services may include, hardware maintenance, data analytics and modelling, software implementation, network support and more.
A discussion of Internet of Things IoT Law would be incomplete without considering the services which are often associated. Service agreements are integral where people are involved in the implementation or maintenance of your IoT hardware and/or software. Within your IoT Agreement you should stipulate the services you will provide to your client, including what is in scope and what is out of scope.
Furthermore, you need to consider service level agreements (SLAs), what kind of support or maintenance services you will provide and how each can be accessed.
Clearly outlining service terms sets out what the obligations and expectations are, which will likely reduce both the risk of disputes and the costs associated with them.
Internet of Things (IoT) Law – Intellectual Property
IP protection should begin at the formation of your idea.
Your Intellectual Property is what makes your product valuable and it is a vital part of Internet of things IoT Law. IoT Agreements need to ensure confidentiality between parties and may also prohibit reverse engineering, alteration, reproduction or sub-licensing.
In some situations, it may also be pertinent to draft a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) between you and your client to ensure utmost confidentiality.
Intellectual Property Protection is one of the first considerations when starting an IoT venture. Where you are investing heavily in technology or software you may consider setting up a separate IP company to hold that IP. The IP company can then licence the intellectual property to your trading entity.
Internet of Things (IoT) Law – Privacy Considerations
When your IoT venture interacts with personal information, privacy considerations should appear front and centre.
Speak to an Internet of Things (IoT) Lawyer
Speak to a lawyer who has built IoT prototypes and web services.
If you’ve scrolled to the bottom and just want a short summary here it is: IoT Law and IoT Agreements are complex. Just as IoT products are complex, so too are the agreements that protect them and you as the creator. That is why when launching your IoT product its best to hire us to help with your legal issues. We have experience in working with IoT companies in creating well-drafted agreements. Not only that, our Principal has even built prototype sensors, integrated them with web servers and presented the data... even if it was to monitor his chilli plants’ moisture levels and satisfy his enthusiasm for AgTech!
Contact us today to discuss Internet of Things IoT Law.
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