IP attorneys enjoy latest tech products at annual CES event

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Brent Seitz and Jeff Chapp, intellectual property attorneys with the global IP firm of Harness Dickey in Troy, were among the crowds at the 2015 International CES held January 6-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and World Trade Center, and at the Westgate, Renaissance, Sands, Venetian, Palazzo, Wynn and Encore hotels.

According to the CES website, this year's show broke records, and was the largest consumer electronics event in history with more than 2.2 million net square feet of exhibit space. CES hosted more than 3,600 exhibitors, including a record number of startup exhibiting companies; and hosted more than 170,000 industry professionals including more than 45,000 attendees from outside the United States.

For Seitz, who focuses on mechanical, biotech, chemical, aerospace, and optical arts technologies, this was his third CES.

"It was interesting to see the different ways that smart devices, such as phones, watches, and glasses, are being integrated with vehicles and home systems such as thermostats, home appliances, and security systems, particularly because a number of our clients have a presence in these areas," he said. "Vehicle collision avoidance systems based on vehicle-to-vehicle communication and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, as well as other driver assistance systems and fully autonomous vehicle technology, are also fields that our clients are involved in."

All of the major automotive companies were present, as were a number of suppliers, Seitz noted. Ford had a major presence with a number of its vehicles displayed outside of the convention center and the new Ford F-150 was the official vehicle of CES.

"Although nearly every gadget under the sun is at CES, a significant portion of the show is directed to automotive related technology, and of great interest to the automotive industry in Michigan," he said.

That included driverless vehicle displays; a smart watch-based virtual key that uses Bluetooth communication to unlock a vehicle; and a power supply the size of a cellphone that is capable of jump-starting a vehicle. Seitz was intrigued by start-up company Pico Brew and its Pico Brew Zymatic home beer brewing machine, promoted as "the world's first all grain, fully automatic beer brewing appliance."

"It's basically a 'set it and forget it' home microbrew machine," Seitz explained. "Beer recipes can be downloaded from the Internet directly to the machine all the user needs to do is add the ingredients and after about four hours the machine turns water into beer! It also comes with software that allows users to enter their own recipes. Pico Brew's interactive website allows users to share recipes, and it even shows what beer is currently being brewed throughout the world using the machine."

Other fun products included a 3D candy printer, which appeared to specialize in chocolate; and smart ear buds that not only play music, but also include an accelerometer, heart rate monitor, and oxygen saturation sensor in order to act as a personal health monitor.

"The number of wearable fitness devices was staggering," Seitz said.

Chapp was attending CES for the first time.

"I've been to other shows and was amazed at the size of this show and the number of exhibitors and people now I understand why this is America's largest trade show," he said. "In a single day, it felt like I walked miles. Although there were thousands of people, since the show was spread over multiple halls on multiple floors of multiple buildings, there weren't too many areas that were over-packed although it was a bit challenging to find a quick lunch and a place to sit."

Chapp who specializes in electrical, electronic, computer and mechanical arts, microprocessors, semiconductor fabrication, telecommunications, solid-state components and systems, satellite systems, and automotive systems enjoyed seeing new technologies and discussing them with people in the industry.

"I especially enjoyed talking to the exhibitors that were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the new products," he said.

He was intrigued by remote control drones, 3D printers, battery operated and/or assist mountain bikes, wearable healing and/or pain relieving devices, and 4D or 5D theatre systems with seats that vibrate based on the scene being displayed.

As a Boy Scout leader, one technology that caught Chapp's eye was a dual purpose cooking pot for camping.

"It includes a fire and heat resistant connector and USB cable that allows a camper to recharge a cell phone or tablet while cooking a meal in the pot over a campfire or portable stove," he explained. "Although electronic devices are typically prohibited on Boy Scout campouts, I can see many campers finding this product very useful."

"It was wonderful to see all of the current and upcoming products being shown," he added. "The innovative spirit is definitely in full force around the world and is displayed for all to see at the CES. As an IP attorney, it appears there will be for the foreseeable future a great deal of potential utility patent, design patent, trademark, agreement and licensing issues and as a result corresponding IP related work great news for IP attorneys in Michigan and around the world."

Published: Mon, Feb 16, 2015

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