By 2025, experts predict, the use of commercial drones could represent an $82 billion industry, with drones collecting market research data, patrolling for security, inspecting infrastructure, monitoring natural disasters, bringing relief supplies, snapping wedding photos, and delivering packages. The sky seems to be the limit.

But delays in the promulgation of FAA regulations, as well as public fears about safety and privacy, could undermine the growth of this emerging industry.

The cover story in the fall/winter issue of MoFo Tech, Morrison & Foerster’s award-winning magazine about legal trends in technology and life sciences, takes a closer look at this industry’s future and the larger implications that these developments pose for tech companies.

Bill O’Connor, a partner in MoFo’s San Diego office, cautions that if the United States doesn’t issue specific usage regulations, drone manufacturers may move their business overseas to countries and regions with more guidance. Concrete state and federal regulations are needed, he notes, to address concerns about public safety and individual privacy.

“It’s important to keep in mind not only new drone-specific laws, but more general principles of tort and criminal law that could be extended to drones,” adds Nathan Taylor, of counsel in MoFo’s Privacy & Data Security Group in Washington, D.C. “Courts could apply principles such as trespass, nuisance, ‘intrusion upon seclusion,’ and ‘public disclosure of private facts’ to limit the use of drones.”

To ensure that our clients remain informed about legal developments in this highly specialized and quickly evolving space, MoFo recently formed the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Practice Group. Headed up by O’Connor, a partner in MoFo’s San Francisco office, this cross-disciplinary group that includes 25 lawyers from our leading aviation, environmental, product liability, privacy, corporate/M&A, and patent practices.

Since 2009, MoFo Tech has been the only magazine to explore the intersections of law with technology and life sciences. Written by professional business and tech journalists, MoFo Tech has won the Content Council’s Pearl Award five years in a row and was named “Best New Magazine” in its class. Its global readership surpasses 10,000, reaching primarily C-level executives and general counsel at many of the top tech and life sciences companies in the United States.

Related Publications

Drones: The FAA Grants Hollywood the First Regulatory Exemptions Permitting the Commercial Use of UAS

Drones: When, Why, and How Will the FAA Investigate Unauthorized UAS Use?

Drones: Hollywood’s Requests for Regulatory Exemptions from the FAA Could Get UAS for Commercial Use Off the Ground

Drones: A Bird’s-Eye View of the (Non-Privacy) Legal Landscape for UAS

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