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Industry 4.0 and its impact on the patent system

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Poster9 December 2016
European Patent Office, Munich

Put simply, Industry 4.0 represents the coming fourth industrial revolution, which includes the Internet of things, data and services. Industrial production machinery no longer processes the product, but the product communicates with the machinery to tell it exactly what to do.

Industry 4.0 will revolutionise industry and production value chains and business models and offer tremendous opportunities for innovators in the information and communications technologies (ICT) sector.

The consequences for the patent system are potentially tremendous, and they challenge some of the fundamental concepts of the system, such as the definition of "industry" and "inventor". There will be a greater overlap and interplay between the types of rights, and as software pervades through all technologies a greater debate on the patentability of software.

The 4th Indo-European conference on patents and ICT, hosted by the EPO and the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, in association with the European Business and Technology Centre, and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, explored the opportunities and challenges of Industry 4.0 for the patent systems in Europe and India. Both regions are among the trailblazers in the ICT sector, as their respective industries are highly inventive and competitive on a global scale.