5 Top Trends in Technology Disputes

Technology dictates our lives.  Inevitably, with the dominance of technology, disputes in the tech space are also on the uptrend. These disputes pose complex legal challenges from the definition of property to how legal documents may be served on parties. In this article, we will explore five key trends in technology disputes, highlighting the nuanced legal issues that may arise in such cases.

  1. Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property is a key asset for technology companies.  As data, software and codes are central to technology players, IP disputes are also expected to intensify. We anticipate a surge in cases related to patent infringement and copyright violation.  With artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning thrown into the mix, questions such as ownership and liability will pose legal and ethical conundrums.

To mitigate the risks associated with IP disputes, companies must invest in comprehensive IP protection strategies. Additionally, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration will offer more efficient and cost-effective means of resolving IP disputes. AI is an area which the regulators are also trying to grapple with so we can expect more regulatory intervention governing the usage of this technology.

  1. Cybersecurity

As the reliance on digital infrastructure grows, so does the potential for cyberattacks and data breaches. In the wake of high-profile data breaches and privacy scandals, regulatory authorities are implementing stricter data protection laws worldwide. Technology disputes in this realm would focus on cybersecurity both from a compliance perspective as well as investigations and regulatory angle.   Data privacy regulation has also intensified particularly in the APAC region with many South East Asian countries introducing their data privacy laws in the last 2-3 years.

To safeguard their interests, organizations must prioritize cybersecurity and compliance measures, conduct regular risk assessments, and stay up-to-date with evolving data protection regulations. Companies are well advised to seek legal counsel with expertise in managing investigations and who are familiar with disputes in the technology and cybersecurity space to minimize the legal exposure associated with data breaches.

  1. Layoffs

In recent times, with the post-COVID economic uncertainty, the technology sector has faced massive layoffs. Even the tech giants such as Meta and Twitter have not been spared. 

This global trend paired with the proposed workplace fairness legislation in Singapore which will come into effect imminently means that employment disputes in the tech space are likely to see an uptrend.

These disputes could range from wrongful termination,  allegations of discrimination, and breaches of the workplace fairness legislation, as well as disputes over retrenchment benefits.

As the employment regulatory landscape becomes more complex, a good employment counsel can provide valuable guidance to companies, seeking to mitigate and resolve these disputes in an efficient manner. 

  1. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is the new kid on the block in the technology space.  After its meteoric rise through the initial coin offering phase, cryptocurrency has seen its fair share of legal risks and challenges more recently.   Disputes between investors and exchanges, investors and promotors (for example Terra / Luna), and finally large-scale crypto insolvencies (Zipmex and 3 Arrows).  All of these cases have generated novel and case law which hasrecognised among other things the nature of cryptocurrency as property. 

This area of work is very specialised and technical.   Lawyers who are well versed in technology matters and have had experience in disputes and insolvency work should be best placed to advise and work with companies and investors who face issues in this space.

  1. Third-party Funding

Third-party funding for technology disputes is another key trend that we predict, particularly in international cases. Third party litigation funding is permitted in Singapore for among others arbitration cases as well as cases before the Singapore International Commercial Courts.  We can anticipate an increase in cases involving third-party funding in these forums.

Third party funding allows companies to maximise their funds in hand and risk-share with commercial providers to vindicate their rights both in bringing claims and and defending themselves against legal action.  To leverage third-party funding effectively, parties involved in technology disputes should work closely with lawyers who are not only subject matter experts but also who have the commercial experience in working on funded matters so that they can make informed decisions regarding third-party funding.

Conclusion

In conclusion, technology disputes are evolving in lockstep with advancements in the digital space. Businesses and individuals should proactively study these trends, seeking legal counsel with expertise in the specific nuances of such disputes as explained above. By staying ahead of these developments, and working with experienced legal counsel, stakeholders can better protect their interests and navigate the complex legal and regulatory environment that surrounds such disputes.

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