Patent News

Jan. 8, 2015

The Hill Op-Ed: Don’t turn off Wi-Fi, by former Rep. Lee Terry

This post originally appeared in The Hill on January 8, 2014.

If you ever connect to the Internet wirelessly from your computer, your cell phone, your gaming console, your home security system, or your television set, more than likely you are using “Wi-Fi” technology.

Five years ago, the average American household used two screens to watch content on the Internet. Today, on average they have seven, and most of them connect you to the world through the power of Wi-Fi.

From your digital music collection, to video conferencing, to home health monitoring and more, Wi-Fi has become an essential technology in our lives.

For average users, it’s just Wi-Fi that works at the touch of a button. But beneath the surface, the evolution of wireless technology has accelerated data transfer speeds roughly 200-fold in the past 10 years.

Progress has been driven by intensive research and development (R&D) that generally takes place in private company labs years ahead of product development. Companies are willing to make long-term investments based on their legal right to patent and license their inventions to others in the future.