Are there any federal or state laws concerning Bluetooth device placement? 1 Answers as of October 03, 2016

Specifically, I have developed an app which can detect and display messaging from Bluetooth beacons. What is to stop Car Dealership A from purchasing a handful of small Bluetooth beacons and placing them around Car Dealership B? Anytime someone with our app visits Car Dealership B their phone will buzz with messaging like 'Come to Car Dealership A for better prices'. There must be some kind of regulation or accountability for advertising sabotage like that though I couldn't find it on the Google. My clients who will use the app are spread throughout the USA.

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Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
There are basically five areas of law that you will be looking to for guidance in this matter. The first is FCC law regarding radio or phone transmissions, depending on what kind of transmissions your device uses. All such devices are licensed by the FCC, which controls the frequency on which the communication will operate, how strong the signal will be, and how the device functions. When cordless house phones first came out, this was a big deal, since some phones were transmitting into nearby phone. The second area of law is the FCC Regulations for Low Power, Non-Licensed Transmitters. This is the category of baby monitors, garage door openers, and other such low range items. If your item fits this category, you will be looking to this body of law. If your device fits neither of these categories, you will need to discuss with the FCC. Generally, the FCC does not allow any frequencies to bleed into phone frequencies, since no one wants their phone calls interrupted. The third area of law that will guide you is advertising law. Some types of ads are legal and some are not. The sort of ads you describe are likely to be illegal as harassment or unfair competition. Have the people downloading the app been fully informed on what it does and then agreed to that? If the app easy to deactivate and uninstall? The fourth area of law you will look to is privacy law. A while back, there was an ad company that wanted to transmit ads at a shopping mall onto the phones and iPod of the shoppers. This was deemed an invasion of privacy. There are special privacy laws for children under age 13, and they have phone and iPods and are present in shopping spaces. The fifth area of law, and the one that should be of most concern to you, is patent law. You should immediately get a good patent lawyer who is experienced in tech inventions. First they will do a search to see if the thing you have invented has already been invented. If not, they will go ahead and start the long registration process. You should go directly and quickly to the patent process and not worry about this or that application being legal or exactly what the practical uses for it will be. Most inventions take on a life of their own and uses will be found.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/3/2016
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