- Growing Investment in Robotics Companies – Investors continue funding the latest robotics innovations in various industries, including the medical, manufacturing, logistics, hospitality, and automotive sectors. With plenty of cash in the market, venture capital (VC), private equity (PE), and strategic investors aim to capitalize on and steer development of disruptive robotics technologies.
- Intellectual Property (IP) Is Critical for Robotics Innovations – Patents and trade secrets continue to be essential tools for protecting robotics innovations and maintaining a competitive edge. Strategic companies will increasingly leverage design patents to protect the “look and feel” of robots and user interfaces in addition to the “how it works” protections afforded by utility patents.
- Cobots Take Center Stage in the Workplace – Many companies dream of full automation, but the reality is there are many tasks robots just can’t perform as well as humans at this stage. Cobots (robots that work alongside humans) will help bridge the automation gap as developers continue efforts to perfect robotic artificial intelligence (AI). Companies will also look to cobots to help smooth the transition of integrating robot platforms into their operations.
- Progress in Robot Interoperability – As companies adopt robotic platforms from multiple developers, these diverse platforms need to be able to communicate and work together. This interoperability, which is similar to standard setting and interoperability pushes in analogous tech industries (e.g., computers, telecom), is expected to become more prevalent as robotics adoption becomes more widespread.
- Increased Efforts to Prevent Hacking and Mitigate Liability – Hacking will continue to be a top concern for the robotics industry as hackers taking control of robots could cause significant damage, disruption, and even bodily harm. Questions of liability also arise in this context, which also are driving an intensive push by industry and government to head off evolving threats.
About the Authors
Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Todd Basile helps technology companies and investors protect and commercialize their innovations across a wide range of industries.
David J. Dykeman, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig's Boston office and co-chair of the firm's global Life Sciences & Medical Technology Group, is a registered patent attorney with 25 years of experience in intellectual property law.
Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Roman Fayerberg is a registered patent attorney with broad experience helping clients to strategically protect and leverage their innovations globally.