The Future of Wearable Technology and its Patentability

The Future of Wearable Technology and its Patentability

Copyright: Blablo101


It is always seen that sci-fi movies often bring ideas which are far away from the state-of-the-art technology of the time. It is not clear for all of us, if science fiction writers and directors are visionaries, or if they are inside the mind of the inspired scientists developing future technologies. The important thing here is that today, a lot of that technology we saw back then is practically part of our daily life.

One example of this kind of futuristic technology is the Wearable Technology. These are related to all electronic devices including a processor or computer inside. It can be wearable and that the user can take everywhere and who interacts continuously with it. In this sense, Wearable Technology is the next step between the fusion of humankind and the microprocessor. Nowadays, wearable technology is found in smartwatches, glasses, fitness bands, connected apparel, medical devices, etc. Wearable universe includes on one side, basic wearables; which refers to devices that provide mostly descriptive feedback (e.g., the number of steps you took per day).  the other side, smart wearables, which refers to more sophisticated devices that can offer prescriptive and diagnostic services.

From devices and apps that help you track heart rate and food consumption details, to gadgets that monitor your mood and even surrounding air, the “quantified self” is a reality for the everyday person. The wearable tech industry was worth nearly $23 billion in 2018 and is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% to reach $54 billion by 2023, according to GlobalData. This increase comes largely as wearable technology becomes more accessible as the consumers have embraced technology into any and all aspects of their lives. Fitness technology becoming smaller and cheaper creates a perfect storm for a sector that’s all set to explode. The leading companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, Nike and Adidas entering this market only show the potential of growth it offers.

Wearable tech businesses, as with other technology businesses, have a heavy reliance on their intellectual property (“IP”). The difference between a successful wearable tech business and a failing one may well be its approach to harnessing, protecting and enforcing its IP. In that regard, there is a bundle of overlapping IP rights to consider, including copyright, database rights, trademarks, patents, design rights and confidential information.

Patent Protection 

There have been various developments in the technology of wearable devices ever since top corporations entered this market. The need for patent protection was realized by all when Apple v. Samsung had reached the court of law. The case revolved around a number of design and utility patents for basic functions of a smartphone, like a tap to zoom and the home screen app grid. But while the fight was hashed out using specific patents, the battle was ultimately about whether Samsung copied Apple in the early days of smartphones to gain an edge. The jury decided that, in many ways, it had.

The strategic protection developed by Apple represents a valuable example of how IP can protect a revolutionary product such as a smartphone. But it could also be applied to any other wearables. These design patent applications covering different aspects of the overall design may allow brands to have a competitive edge over others. It also protects them from others being able to copy their product. It is a common practice for companies to take a design patent for their products. A “design patent” protects the way an article looks i.e. ornamental (nonfunctional) design. It only deals with the aesthetic features of the products and not its utility features. However, certain functions of the product like a sensor that monitors a specific action (eg, a step counter or a heart rate monitor) can be protected by a patent if these sensors are an innovation in technology or an improvement to what already exists in the market.

Most wearable technology devices rely on the ability to operate by connecting to a separate device like a tablet or smartphone. In cases like these, the wearable device and the app will need to be protected by a patent separately in order to stop other manufacturers from replicating certain features of the app. An app can only be protected if it is deemed to solve a technical problem.

Top brands dealing with wearable technology are seen as being keen on applying for patent protection. Nike has more U.S. patents than one of the United States’ top defence contractors, a company that is in the business of making stealth jets. It has garnered more legal rights in this arena than a pharmaceutical company that is developing cancer-fighting drugs, and then an auto giant working on self-driving cars. As for Under Armour, the company that stands between the two giants in terms of revenues in the U.S. market has just upwards of 100 U.S. patents, almost two-thirds of which are design and not utility patents

Google has also come up with a product called Google Glass. It will be a small connected LCD screen in front of your eyes, controlled by both voice and touch – on the frame. It will let you make calls, search and surf the internet, record and share what you see. It will also pop-up Google Now like cards and show you the way. Interestingly, Google for this one device has multiple patents in place such as for the feature of unlocking the device using eye-tracking. Also, how weight will be distributed across the frame and outlines provisions for a gyroscope, accelerometer and other sensors.

Countries like the U.S.A and many others have shown a proactive approach in granting patents for the development of this wearable technology. India on the other hand, has seen to be getting famous for rejecting a large number of patents for wearable technologies. Recently, Google had applied for a patent of shoes and ankle bracelets. The Indian Patent Office rejected Google’s application, observing that it lacks inventive steps and the use and method by which it is to be performed is not fully described in complete specification. As technology evolves in the future, there is a danger that technology will advance faster than legislation, leaving manufacturers with very few options as they wait for the law to catch up.


We are at the beginning part of the growth of wearable technology. From a technical standpoint, wearables will be more lightweight, more functional, more user-friendly. The issues that are going to arise would require swift administration of IP strategy for each component of a product. In wearable technology it’s not simply the electronic components of the device itself; it might be the material used for the band or the particular shape of the device. With top corporations capitalizing this niche and growing market, it is essential to protect the IP rights of innovation in technology, it gives a competitive edge over similar products in the market place and helps to increase the value of your product. The other issue that we have to look for in the future is privacy because the concept of wearables is not just the functionality, but interactivity with other devices. That brings to mind the privacy issues in collecting personal data. The wearable technology industry is moving towards becoming a multi-million dollar industry; it is also reaching in the hands of every other individual these days. Thus it is important for brands to integrate a proactive approach to safeguard IP rights and protect the data of its users. 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses

  1. It’s going to be finish of mine day, but before end I am
    reading this impressive post to increase my knowledge.

  2. What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience
    regarding unpredicted emotions.

  3. I am genuinely thankful to the holder of this web site who has shared this
    impressive paragraph at at this place.

  4. Hi to all, it’s in fact a fastidious for me to
    go to see this site, it contains valuable Information.

  5. My brother suggested I might like this website.

    He used to be entirely right. This submit truly made my day.
    You cann’t consider just how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

  6. A person necessarily assist to make severely posts I would state.
    That is the very first time I frequented your website page and to this point?
    I surprised with the analysis you made to make this particular put up extraordinary.
    Magnificent job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *