The Future of High Tech Patent Litigation in the Auto Industry

09 May 2017 Dashboard Insights Blog

The rapid adoption of new technologies by the auto industry and the new players that provide them is going to have an impact on the world’s roads. It’s also bringing an increased focus on exploiting and protecting intellectual property.

In the past, the OEMs and suppliers have always played nice, while major West Coast technology companies not traditionally associated with the auto industry, such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft, are moving into the automotive space with extensive automotive patent portfolios and a more aggressive attitude about protecting and exploiting their intellectual property.  In addition, the patent trolls will continue their efforts to cobble together portfolios in order to shake down the OEMs and others for license fees.

Reviewing the high-technology patent litigation in the automobile industry that occurred between 2012 and 2017 helps to crystalize the full picture of IP litigation now and moving forward. The majority of patent litigation in the last 5 years has been troll cases, and the automotive sector is no exception. If anything, auto has seen trolls form rapidly, particularly in the EDTx, to exploit various high-tech aspects of cars. The major trolls have targeted OEMs. The high-tech patent cases between suppliers or competitors and the OEMs in the auto industry from 2012 to 2017 were much fewer and farther between, but more significant from the tech standpoint and were likely more aggressively litigated. In addition to the new players mentioned above getting into the game, many have formed partnerships with more traditional auto companies like Fiat Chrysler and Toyota. This all points to patent collisions as the new developments go from concept to reality.

The increased emphasis on and adoption of new technology in the auto industry, along with the entry of tech companies into the space will undoubtedly bring an increased focus on IP. For a deeper dive into the developments of IP litigation in the auto industry, check out The Future of High Tech Patent Litigation in the Auto Industry, a whitepaper originally published by AutomotiveWorld, written by Bill Robinson, Foley partner and chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services