Standard Setting Organisations for the IoT: How To Ensure a Better Degree of Liability?

Francesca Gennari

Abstract

This early stage research article aims to outline an issue that, though not strictly connected to the cyber-sphere, is most likely going to affect it. Standard Setting/Developing Organisations (SSOs/SDOs) are getting more and more important in the electronics manufacturing field and also in the IP field by setting de facto mandatory rules for products to be safer but, most importantly, more efficient. Standards create trust in complex objects such as IoT devices, that are increasingly more available, especially the ones for the house. It is worth mentioning that the standards these organisations envision are not comparable to legislation but carry a significant ‘moral’ weight (soft law). However, these organisations are private in character and work on a voluntary basis. The problem lies in the creation of the standard when the essentiality of a patented innovation has to be assessed. These processes rely on the self-certification of businesses that their invention is truly essential to the development of a certain standard, which has led to a proliferation of new Standard Essential Patents (S.E.P.s). But in this case, there are no means to ensure some form of liability of these organisations when defects and shortcomings arise. It is argued that unless some form of liability is created for these organisations, IoT objects will never gain the trust of final users.

Keywords

IoT; Standards; Smart-House; Liability; SEP; SSOs; SDOs

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