5G is perceived by most consumers as the fuel for their smart devices, propelling mobile connectivity to new heights. But these new generations of the spectrum are doing more than just loading your Twitter feed faster- they are completely revolutionizing the way our society works, altering everything from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals to artificial intelligence. Improvements in the wireless spectrum have long been associated with widespread innovation across industry verticals, especially since the number of connected devices has rapidly increased since the turn of the century.
Today, ongoing 5G deployments paired with increased investments in machine learning technology have opened the door for more innovation and ensuing legal challenges in industries like automotive, life sciences, fintech, and more. And while wireless advancements may propel progress forward across sectors, they will also create opportunities for disputes among those looking to defend or expand their stake in the market.
Let’s look at how wireless technology are shifting some major industrial operations and examine how these shifts could be affecting litigation risk.
Wireless Charging Innovation Hits the Electric Vehicle Industry
Currently, EV chargers are largely powered by a mix of WiFi, LTA, and Ethernet. But with the global deployments of EV charging stations set to balloon to over 66 million units by 2030, improving EV charging point communication capabilities are essential in mitigating range anxiety and encouraging EV adoption. That’s why Electreon, a purveyor in EV wireless charging technology, has created the industry’s first charging system embedded right in the roadway. This technology is referred to as “Dynamic Wireless EV Charging”, and it allowed the company to set a new world record for the longest distance ever driven by a passenger EV.
The demonstration, which utilized a Toyota RAV4-PHEV, challenged the current limits of electric vehicles by having the car travel more than 1200 miles on its electric road. The hybrid model drove for 100 hours straight and maintained operations without the help of its gas engine. For perspective, the longest-range EV on the market today comes from Lucid Air Grand Touring and offers 516 miles of driving range, while most models typically range anywhere between 200 and 300.
The Legal Implications
This wireless charging innovation directly addresses two of the key barriers to adoption in the electric vehicle industry: limited range and lack of proper charging infrastructure. And while Electreon is a pioneer propelling wireless charging forward in the space, we predict that their latest feat will likely spark competition and likely patent battles over SEPs, licensing, and more as other firms attempt to create their own proprietary wireless charging systems.
Further, increased connectivity may improve vehicle operations, but it puts automotive security at greater risk and requires more maintenance to keep intricate systems up to date. This has the potential to spur onboard network security breaches and out-of-date software, which could create disputes over cybersecurity and product liability claims over vehicle safety.
Enhanced Payment Systems in Fintech Space
Lower latency and faster speeds brought on by 5G have created new possibilities in financial technology. With so much of our finances now living in the digital realm, 4G is growing less and less capable of handling the volume of daily online financial transactions completed around the world. Now that mobile payments, online banking, cryptocurrency, and digital wallets are experiencing an explosion of growth, fintech companies need the improved connection that 5G offers to support the evolution towards further virtual integration.
This improvement in connectivity is allowing fintech providers to offer more complex services on mobile devices, from high-speed cashless peer-to-peer payments to seamless banking transactions. Further, 5G has greatly improved transaction security as the spectrum’s low latency can pull geolocations and merchant IDs for purchases, increasing consumer protection. For some, this is proving to be a lucrative industry evolution; Verizon and Mastercard have partnered to transform the global payments system through IoT and 5G integrations, pushing others in the industry to examine the creation of new systems, fresh collaborations, and potential acquisitions.
The Legal Implications
While 5G has displayed considerable benefits for those operating in the fintech space, it would be remiss to ignore the potential risks associated with heightened connectivity in payment systems. Firstly, neo-banks are now at risk of obsolescence if they refuse to adapt to this evolving, hyper-connected environment. This will push them into mergers and acquisitions to expand their stake in the market, which could potentially spark conflict over contracts, proprietary data, and more. Further, new players are now entering the market en masse, opening the door to more industry consolidation that provokes antitrust litigation and patent disputes between legacy providers and new payment companies.
Secondly, without heightened protections for consumer information, those in the payments space may find their data centers are unable to cope with an increase in consumer data flow. Conflicts over improper data use, phishing, and digital card skimming attacks pose risks to those payment purveyors who lack proper cyber risk mitigation processes.
More Responsive Wearable Device Technology
The rapid growth of mobile technology and improvements in connectivity have directly contributed to the growth of wearable devices, positively impacting the industry to allow for more streamlined healthcare and personal wellness monitoring. Smart healthcare is considered to be a critical application in 5G networks, and for good reason; the pandemic made us realize just how important remote health monitoring can be.
Consider Apple’s Watch or Google’s Fitbit tracker. These devices, with the help of improved wireless technology, can monitor blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and falls, while also tracking your medications, cardiovascular fitness, and more. And that’s just at home; in healthcare, 5G technology can provide security, greater service reliability, and constant updates on chronic diseases, allowing providers to save lives and improve clinical decision-making.
The Legal Implications
The major concerns of those utilizing connected wearable devices surround privacy and security. These devices typically harbor sensitive data, and the science regarding healthcare trends and insights also poses a risk for litigation. Conflicts over data integrity, safety, and efficacy will likely emerge with the increased adoption of 5G and newer generations of the spectrum as more entities integrate this technology. Data security and privacy are some of the top factors patients consider when engaging with healthcare, and if providers cannot maintain confidentiality, consumers will seek reparations for wrongdoing.
Additionally, like in any growing industry, the threat of infringement lingers as more wearable device players attempt to penetrate the market. We see the possibility for disputes over technical specifications and performance surrounding the design, development, and testing of a specific device as the industry landscape becomes more competitive.
Experts in Innovation
WIT has decades of experience working with leading attorneys on complex litigation and has brought together diverse teams of experts across industries to provide robust insight and expert testimony on complex cases.
Our expert teams can address any aspect of wireless innovation, and understand the opportunities and challenges associated with growth in 5G, 6G, and beyond. Our experts include:
- Academics who are highly credentialed scholars with years of experience from top universities and institutions around the world.
- C-Suite executives who know the ins and outs of corporate operations and have experience working at the highest levels of management at firms and in government.
- Engineers who have the know-how to handle a wide range of tasks and can conduct research, due diligence, and analysis for complex litigation.
- Regulators who have the experience and insider knowledge to help counsel understand and communicate complex issues involving policies and regulations within industries.
Want to learn more about what’s to come in 2023 for the wireless communications industry? Reach out to WIT to schedule a partner briefing or to learn more about our experts. Our 5G expert team was created to address what we expect to be the key areas of litigation involving wireless technology innovation.