Internet of Things

The next technological revolution has arrived. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way that business is done, and Ice Miller helps clients navigate this new frontier.

The IoT - a network of interconnected devices that collect, transmit, analyze, and communicate data - presents new legal risks and opportunities across a wide-range of industries. Ice Miller provides legal solutions for our clients, including companies that manufacture connected devices, license software to device manufacturers, purchase and deploy devices to improve their own internal and external efficiencies, and/or invest in IoT-related businesses.

Our IoT team brings together lawyers from all disciplines who combine their traditional legal experience with in-depth knowledge about the IoT and how it impacts our clients.
  • Smart Investments in a World of Smart Devices. Commercial Agreements (from buy-sell agreements to supply, distribution, and licensing agreements) will need to address new issues, such as data ownership, while traditional issues, such as representations, indemnifications, product warnings, and many others will need to reflect this changing world.
  • Securing and Sharing Data. We work with manufacturers of interconnected devices to identify risks associated with collecting and transferring of data, responding to security incidents, and mitigating legal risk from cyber-attacks related to interconnected devices. We also help clients protect trade secrets embedded in their interconnected devices and potentially accessible via the Industrial IoT.  
  • Broadband/Connectivity. The proliferation of the IoT creates unprecedented new uses for internet-enabled devices and heightens the demand for high-speed connectivity among residential and commercial users. Our work spans the full broadband pipeline from assisting municipalities that seek to foster economic development and Smart Cities initiatives, to ensuring sufficient broadband connectivity in the corporate site selection process, to working with internet providers and manufacturers of related tech equipment, and more. This experience enables public and private sector clients to stay at the forefront of the IoT revolution.
  • Protecting Intellectual Property Connected to the IoT. The IoT has spurred unprecedented collection, collaboration, and sharing of information. These emerging technologies present new and interesting intellectual property concerns. From copyright issues, to ownership and sharing of IoT data, to patent protections for IoT technologies, IoT innovators must be aware of, and ready to navigate, these intellectual property challenges.
  • Marketing IoT Devices. IoT device vendors must develop strategies to obtain informed consent for use of data in a manner that is both acceptable and easy to implement, while providing consumers with enough information to make informed decisions.
  • The IoT and Health Care. Mobile medical device applications allow patients to conveniently capture their health data which is helping physicians better detect and treat illnesses. Providers such as hospitals utilize the IoT to monitor patients, personnel, and medical devices. With data becoming increasingly present and accessible, it is important for healthcare professionals and organizations to fully understand the benefits and potential risks associated with this data. We represent health care providers and medical device manufacturers on a variety of issues, including HIPAA Privacy and Security.
  • IoT Policy. Congress and the Federal government are becoming aware of the significant impact the IoT has on individuals, businesses, and the economy. As these impacts are evaluated, Congress and federal agencies will be significantly involved in the creation of policy, standards and regulations that will affect how the IoT propagates in the U.S. These actions will have uneven impacts across different industries, and companies must be aware of what is being contemplated and able to pursue changes to these polices before they are set. We work with clients to ensure they are well informed and proactive on IoT issues and able to mitigate problems and bring about rationale outcomes before Congress and the Administration. 
  • Creating a Culture of Employee Privacy and Data Security. The IoT raises new and ever-changing employee relation issues. Employers that compile personal and health information on employees, such as from fitness monitoring devices used as part of a wellness program, must adopt appropriate practices to protect that information to avoid privacy claims or HIPAA violations. Other policies, along with employee training, should be used to develop an overall culture of data security.
  • ​Insuring Against the Not Yet Known. Products incorporating the IoT may not be completely covered under standard insurance policies. Companies will want to review policies to confirm coverage for the unique risks related to interconnected devices. 
  • Product Liability of Interconnected Devices. The growth of interconnected devices will change some of the basic principles of products liability and product recalls. Companies need to be aware of the changes in designing products and when defending product liability actions. 

Representative Experience

  • Drafted privacy policies and terms of use for a company that collects health data from youth soccer players, including heart rates and exertion levels, through a wearable device.
  • Assisted nationwide manufacturer of an IoT consumer product in response to active data breach and extortion situation, including coordination between multiple forensics vendors, insurance and company IT resources.
  • Created a privacy policy and terms of use for a water treatment company that specializes in water softeners, drinking water systems and water purification. The privacy policy and terms of use covers the company’s offering of a Wi-Fi enabled “smart” water softener, which will collect usage information about the device and transmit that data to its website domain.
  • Help craft legislation needed to aid the connected world and fund the implementation of these solutions. We represented nearly 50 cities in litigation of Ohio Senate Bill 331, which prevented cities from restricting small cell infrastructure placement in local rights-of-way and was found to be unconstitutionally enacted.
  • Work with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) on the placement of fiber optics and Digital Short Range Communications (DSRC) towers for the purpose of testing and collecting data from and to autonomous and connected vehicles.
  • Represented the ODOT in a high-stake, multi-million dollar case that resulted in a quick and favorable resolution following victories at both the trial and appellate level. Wireless Edge Consultants LLC (WEC) alleged ODOT unlawfully terminated two contracts pursuant to which WEC managed third-party lease agreements for the use of macro and small cell towers on state-owned rights-of-way. Ice Miller successfully defended a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO Motion) before the Court of Claims and an interlocutory appeal to the Tenth District Court of Appeals. This resolution enabled ODOT to protect the viability of its programming and the state’s ability to remain at the forefront of advanced technology.  

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