This week, Panasonic announced its plan to offer 50 patents related to the Internet of Things (IoT) for free.
IoT is a term referring to objects embedded with sensors and connected to servers that collect data through the Internet.
The move is the latest in companies opening up their patent portfolios to the free market. Toyota recently announced their plans to allow access to their patents related to fuel cell vehicle (FCV) technologies free of charge. Last summer, Tesla Motors set the trend, when Elon Musk penned an article opening the floodgates to the company’s IP.
It begs the questions: why give away this information for free? And what companies may be next?
These firms have taken on this approach in attempt not only to glean some public favor – or simply as an altruistic endeavor – but also in an effort to grow their specific markets. Presumably, companies like Panasonic and Tesla have a head start in these respective fields, so as the industry grows and evolves, they’ll be more likely to capitalize with a bigger, more fleshed out development.
As this strategy continues to grow, and potentially proves successful, we can look to expect some similarly big plays in expanding fields – such as security, green technology, etc – to line up to give away their IP to the masses.
Not only will it provide a jolt to the utilization of their technology, but it will open up the inside lane for the bigger players to harness any new developments.