The Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining in importance in many areas of daily life. Whether in smart homes and cities or networked factories – the use of voice control, M2M (machine-to-machine), C2C (car-to-car) and C2I (car-to-infrastructure) communication and control mechanisms in industrial “just-in-time” production is on the rise. Networked devices also make our private everyday lives easier. In a business context, devices of this kind help reduce costs because they allow predictable, repetitive tasks, for example, to be carried out entirely by automated means.
IoT throws up many legal issues of a new kind. Who are the contracting parties when machines interact with each other? And if there’s nobody to actually negotiate the contents of a contract, what about accepting the general terms and conditions of business? How can machine-to-machine payment transactions be automated so that they are legally watertight? And who is liable when data is transferred, and possibly lost?
We offer all-round support for the structuring of innovative IoT projects, paying special attention to all the requirements imposed by data protection, regulatory law, the law governing business terms and conditions, and liability law. We advise on the manufacture of IoT devices with an eye to the product-related and regulatory requirements, but also on the use of third-party software (e.g. open source software as part of the firmware for devices of this kind). Structuring and negotiating IoT project contracts is another focus of ours, including development contracts, contracts for distribution systems for IoT products, cooperation contracts between suppliers of various IoT devices, and end user conditions.
Because data is currently not protected by either intellectual property rights or copyright, we assist with the design of contractual arrangements to secure rights in the data generated and aggregated in the context of the use of IoT products. Keeping in mind the data protection aspects, we draft consents for the use and processing of personal data and advise on the aspect of justification under the GDPR. We are also experienced in handling liability issues in connection with IoT, especially where IoT and AI come together. Last but not least, we advise our clients and represent their interests in the event of external data breaches (e.g. by hackers).