Opinions and Editorials

Jan. 8, 2022

IAM: Patent Marketplace Has Been the Unsung Hero of the Remote Work Era by Andy Sherman

Sophisticated, internet-enabled audiovisual technologies, once a niche reserved for gamers and videophiles, have been gaining mainstream acceptance for some time, but the outbreak of COVID-19 kicked adoption into overdrive. Now, grandparents use videoconferencing to show up for birthday, students live-stream their classes and doctors rely on smartphones to examine their patients remotely. At the end of the day, many of us relax with streaming services.

Today, Internet-enabled audiovisual tech isn’t just everywhere; it’s essential.

Without thinking much about it, most people figure we were lucky to have had such advanced technology when the pandemic broke out—just imagine the last two years without streaming content or videoconferencing. But luck has nothing to do with it. Patents and patent licensing helped these technologies meet the moment. As we (hopefully) emerge from the ravages of covid-19, policymakers should recognise how the patent marketplace helped countless people and businesses survive and even thrive in quarantine.