Background - Practices (Details)

Internet of Things (IoT)

"There are projected to be more than 50 billion connected devices in our homes and in our pockets by 2020. Governments around the world are focusing on the safety, security, and privacy challenges and how these devices should be regulated. We’re working with clients in Washington and around the world to create brand-enhancing strategies for today’s legal landscape and for what’s coming next."

Cheryl A. Falvey, Crowell & Moring partner, former general counsel of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and co-chair of ABA’s Internet of Things Committee, SciTech Section

The Internet of things (IoT) has revolutionized how businesses, consumers, and public infrastructure interact by connecting everyday electronic devices to the Internet and one another. Crowell & Moring helps clients bring new IoT products to market by assessing the relevant data privacy and regulatory risks, that these connected devices present. Crowell & Moring is at the forefront of advising clients on these novel issues and defending clients in first-of-their-kind litigation challenges that will impact industry for years to come.

Crowell & Moring attorneys bring together extensive regulatory depth, industry knowledge, solutions for connected products, and interdisciplinary strengths to partner with clients in myriad ways, including:

  • Product Launch/Risk Mitigation Counseling
  • Data Ownership Review and Toolkit
  • Intellectual Property Prosecution, Licensing, and Enforcement
  • Strategic Corporate Counseling and Transactions
  • Litigation Alleging Vulnerability or Breach

What makes Crowell & Moring attorneys different?

Extensive Regulatory Depth

Many Crowell & Moring attorneys have served in U.S. federal government agencies with oversight over IoT technology—including the Federal Trade Commission, Food & Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Health and Human Services. Our attorneys use their unique perspective to stay at the forefront of IoT regulations and rules to provide best in class client service.

Industry Knowledge

"The FTC and other regulators are looking closely at how companies are securing the Internet of Things. Security is the critical component to take full advantage of the explosive growth opportunity IoT presents."

Kristin Madigan,
Crowell & Moring counsel and former attorney for FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection

Crowell & Moring attorneys possess the necessary in-depth understanding of our clients’ industries and technologies to provide support needed, including the following sectors:

  • Automotive and Transportation
    From autonomous vehicles to air traffic control, our experienced transportation attorneys works with leading automotive and Tier 1 equipment manufacturers, service providers, and app developers to address legal challenges arising from connected vehicles and transport.

  • Industrial and Manufacturing
    Crowell & Moring attorneys have experience with a broad range of manufacturers whose connected products range from industrial equipment and parts to consumer electronics, wearables, robots, and home appliances.

  • Health Care and Medical Devices
    Crowell & Moring’s Digital Health team represents the makers of wearable medical devices, ingestible and embedded sensors, mobile health products, and wireless medical devices. Our team counsels on innovative digital health arrangements, data use, security, and safety of health IoT devices, helping clients achieve their innovation goals while minimizing regulatory and litigation risks.

  • Connected Cities, Campuses, and Infrastructure
    Smart cities and campuses are routinely integrating information and communication technology to make public spaces safer and more efficient. This raises new questions about regard to privacy, data security, compliance, data ownership, and the best ways to merge innovation, resources, and public and private interests. Crowell & Moring’s team brings deep government, regulatory, and litigation experience to help clients navigate this complex and evolving landscape. And our Government Contracts Practice is ranked “Band 1” in the nation by Chambers USA.

  • Energy 
    Crowell & Moring attorneys help energy providers and users address, develop, and deploy IoT products, particularly in the areas of distributed generation, microgrid technologies, advanced net metering, and blockchain-powered products, many of which utilize software controlled, networked, or otherwise “smart” devices.

  • Insurance / Reinsurance
    Crowell & Moring’s nationally esteemed Insurance / Reinsurance Group brings deep industry knowledge to help insurers navigate the new challenges posed by IoT in changing business models, policy wordings, and coverage litigation.

Solutions for Connected Products

"The IoT is opening remarkable doors, but with that new world of possibilities comes legal uncertainty. Leveraging what we already know, what we see in the works, and what we anticipate on the horizon is key to helping our clients continue to focus on what they do best—bring value to their customers."

Kate M. Growley, Crowell & Moring counsel and co-chair of ABA’s SciTech Section's Homeland Security Committee and vice-chair of the Public Contract Law Section’s Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Protection Committee

Bringing connected products to market entails navigating opportunities and challenges at every stage—from transactions to compliance strategies to mitigating risk and litigation that may follow. We advise clients on:

  • Regulatory, Privacy, and Data Security
    Our team advises clients on global cutting-edge issues, including privacy, data security, data transfer, and other cybersecurity requirements. At the forefront of risk mitigation is proactive attention to disclosures on data collection, security, and potential vulnerabilities. We help benchmark data security against regulator guidance and industry best practices to incorporate security, privacy, and safety by design. We also provide clients with data ownership reviews and toolkits, including strategies for data use and safeguarding ownership, privacy-related notices and choice, gap analysis and blueprint mapping, and training and regulatory monitoring.

  • Product Liability and Related Litigation
    Our lawyers have led the first litigation challenges involving interconnected products, including allegations of vulnerability to hacking. Our experience includes having successfully defended several class actions alleging that a product’s vulnerability to hacking constitutes a breach of warranty, product defect, and false advertising. We work with clients to mitigate these challenges and defend against litigation pertaining to safety, security, privacy, and a range of other concerns.

  • Corporate and Transactions
    We advise clients on IoT issues that arise across the full range of corporate activities and at every stage in the business lifecycle, from investment due diligence to contracts with vendors and suppliers, and from privacy disclosures to acquisition of consumer data and to customer agreements.

  • Intellectual Property Prosecution, Licensing, and Enforcement
    Our patent lawyers have deep experience serving businesses that are at the forefront of IoT. We understand the challenges of collaborative research activities and work directly with inventors and R&D departments to help identify patentable technologies, draft strong, defensible patent applications, and provide dispute resolution support in proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in federal court. We regularly negotiate licensing agreements, technology transfers, information asset acquisitions, marketing and distribution agreements and other deals that help clients maximize the return on intellectual property investments.

Interdisciplinary Strengths

Working together, Crowell & Moring’s multi-disciplinary IoT team provides business and legal solutions that are as comprehensive and interconnected as the opportunities and challenges our clients face.