If you are interested in Augmented Reality you should know Brian Wassom and his blog about Augmented Legality. Brian works at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP as a partner and the chair of the Social, Mobile and Emerging Media Practice Group. He will speak at Augmented Reality Summit India 2013 in Mumbai about legal challenges posed by AR. He kindly answered our questions about his conference.
As a lawyer, what has led you to augmented reality?
I’m keenly interested in making sure that my services as a lawyer will be relevant and helpful to those who will be shaping society and technology for the next several years. Paying close attention to the trends in modern technology convinced me that AR will be a dominant and very important technology in the near future. So I want to be ahead of the curve in understanding and explaining–and perhaps even helping to influence–how legal principles will govern the use of this technology.
During your live session in AR summit India (Munbai) you will speak about “Augmented legality”, could you explain what is it ?
I actually own a U.S. trademark registration for the phrase “Augmented Legality.” It’s just a play on words that refers to the law that will govern, and be shaped by, augmented reality technology.
In you minds, what is the biggest challenge for AR legality in 2013 ? (Intellectual property, Privacy, Personal Injury, Civil Rights, etc.)
Specifically in the year 2013, the most important of those areas is certainly Intellectual Property. In particular, the area of patent law. So much innovation is occurring right now, and it’s vitally important to make sure that these inventions are protected by patents, and that the existing field gives the inventors freedom to practice their invention. Because once the new products come to market, you can be sure that others will file lawsuits claiming that the inventions somehow infringe an existing patent. We already see that in the mobile phone industry; every manufacturer of mobile phones is defending or prosecuting a patent infringement lawsuit. AR is just another form of mobile technology, so we’re certain to see the same trend. Indeed, as I’ve written about in my blog, we’ve already seenthe first AR-related patent lawsuits filed in the US.
There is always a gap between the law and practice of the technologies. Is AR holds a special place? Is this difference will disappear one day?
You are correct. There is always a gap between technology development and the ability of law to catch up to it. AR is not special in this regard; it will be true of AR as well. It will disappear eventually, but not soon. Just look how the law is still trying to keep up with internet publishing, more than 20 years after commercial use of the internet began! That said, the basic legal principles that apply online–and in AR–are the same as they have always been. Courts and litigants will find a way to adapt those principles on a case-by-case basis, especially in the common law legal systems.
You predict some AR things on your blog. If you have to choose only one, which one ?
Of my five predictions for the year, I consider the first one the most likely–that we will see some form of privacy dispute with respect to AR. Privacy is a hot topic around the world these days, especially with online and mobile technology. Many publishers of mobile applications are being punished for improper disclosures and protections. It is only a matter of time before an AR application raises similar concerns.