Many market researchers expect that the interconnected IoT (Internet of Things) devices will create a new market that will result in more than $1 trillion in value added to the global economy within 10 years. Recently, many global leaders in IoT business provide the IoT platforms to create diverse platform-based business models and form IoT business ecosystem. According to the market research of Research and Markets, there are more than 260 companies that are offering IoT platforms. The number of competing IoT platforms is likely to be increase more for a certain period of time, and then, merge into several dominant IoT platforms through the IoT platform wars.
As we have seen in the smartphone market, it is expected that the super-competition to have the leadership in the lucrative IoT market can lead to another round of patent wars. The IoT platform patent wars, however, will be more extensive because of more extensive participation of players across several different industries. The IoT platform patent wars will also be more complex because of the recent rapid change in legal environment and with the learning curve from the smartphone patent wars. Therefore, more advanced and sophisticated patent strategy is required to prepare for the upcoming IoT platform (patent) wars.
Most of all, the patent strategy for the IoT platform wars should be in alignment with the evolution of the IoT business ecosystems initialed by the dynamic reconstruction of value chains through the IoT platform wars. Thus, the patent strategy for the patent creation, portfolio development and exploitation should take care of multi-dimensional value chain relationship with the IoT ecosystem players. This means that the strategic patent creation, portfolio development and exploitation should consider not only the traditional Porter’s competition strategy but also the ecosystem alliance strategy. A good methodology to show the multi-dimensional value chain relationship and changes surrounding the specific IoT platforms in patent space will help the development and execution of the strategy greatly.
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