Software has become ubiquitous: it has reached almost all areas of industry and commerce. Artificial intelligence and machine learning in particular are game-changers – fueled by more data and faster hardware they show no signs of slowing down. Ever increasingly it is the software component of products and services which plays the decisive role in determining their success. In fact, a strong integration of software into your products can end up changing your business model.
Looking through online advice on patents for startups, you may be confronted with a lot of contradictory articles and comments that make clear conclusions difficult, if not impossible. Amongst others, you will find comments to the effect that patents should not be a priority for startups because they are too expensive, and that they may instead be filed at a later stage - if at all - when it is clearer which product is likely to become a commercial success. Other comments may indicate that the grant of a patent is not guaranteed and that the associated financial risk is therefore too high.
The media has given increased coverage to cybersecurity issues over the last couple of months, addressing in particular the US race against China to build the fifth generation of wireless technology (5G technology) and its security aspects. Although there is a widespread worry of increased cyber intrusions once 5G technology is widely available, there is also a huge possibility for new internet-based services. This is because 5G is designed to provide users with a much faster wireless connection allowing for new innovations in different areas (e.g. Internet of Things) to become a more integrated part of our daily lives.
Even if a contract designates "Swiss law" as the governing law, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (the "Vienna Convention" or "CISG") could in principle apply. Where it applies, the CISG takes precedence over the ordinary national laws. This is often overlooked by the parties at the time they negotiate and sign the contract, and at the point they find themselves in dispute.