What You Missed at CES

Jan 13, 2014

Attendees are silhouetted as they stand in front of the TCL Corp. booth during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg.

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). With over 2 million square feet of convention space covered by 3,000 exhibitors premiering thousands of gadgets and gizmos, it is a convention of really cool stuff.

But these technologies are more than just cool stuff. They are breakthroughs, innovations, discoveries, creations, and inventions that require substantial resources and manpower to bring to life. If you ask the entrepreneurs and innovators behind these gadgets, they’ll tell you that they are so much more than "stuff." 

There’s smart jewelry that can help lower incidences of skin cancer, a power charger that may eradicate wall plugs, and a car that runs solely on sunlight. But what took the cake this year at CES is the “Internet of Things,” a concept with a potential $19 trillion-market that tracks physical objects in the digital sphere, making them more efficient and productive in our daily lives.

I’m no tech expert and explaining the nuances of these technologies is way above my pay grade, but I don't expect these products to come to market overnight. As a recent FOXBusiness headline points out, “CES’ Best Gems May Take Years to Materialize,” with tinkerers and businesses toiling for years on end trying to tackle complex questions.

Patents, trade secrets, and other forms of intellectual property (IP) rights don’t guarantee the success of these products—many will fail—but they give inventors and businesses a chance to make it to market and, hopefully, change the world.  But counterfeiting, piracy, and blatant IP theft undercut the ability for entrepreneurs to realize commercial viability, economies to prosper, and consumers to benefit from these breakthrough technologies.

CES provides more than just a parade of “stuff”—it’s a showcase of American ingenuity which wouldn’t exist without the blood, sweat, and tears of homegrown and international creators. 

Note: This post originally appeared on the Global Intellectual Property Center's website.

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