Hedging Against An Uncertain Timeline for AV Market Adoption

23 July 2019 Dashboard Insights Blog
Authors: Chethan K. Srinivasa

While the automotive industry as a whole may be experiencing stagnant or declining growth, a new wave of collaboration has washed over the automotive industry in the first half of 2019.  Companies are opting towards working together to solve technical challenges, instead of taking on the risks and costs of going it alone.  This new wave may have been spurred by the realization that while technical advances are being made at a break-neck pace, the projected timeline for arrival and market adoption of autonomous vehicles was overly ambitious.

Another tool to hedge against this uncertain timeline is building a patent portfolio that can provide active, enforceable patents for up to 20 years.  Strategic patents can protect emerging technologies that have yet to achieve mass market adoption, but will likely be heavily adopted in a couple decades or form the foundation for must-have features in the future.  For example, and in no particular order, the top five current and future impactful areas of automotive innovation are:

  • Connected Car 
    • IoT & Cellular Connectivity, Infotainment, smart Play, Telematics, Media Integration, Smartphone & Apps, Advertising, Navigation, Wearables, Cyber Security
  • Autonomous Car
    • ADAS, Sensors, V2X Communications, Autonomous Driving
  • Car Sharing
    • Car/Ride Sharing Features, personalized experience
  • Conventional Propulsion
    • Gasoline & Hybrid, Steering, Suspension & Brakes Control Systems, Engine & Traction Control Modules
  • Alternative Propulsion
    • Hybrid & EV, Wireless charging, Charging/re-fueling infrastructure

Many technologies within these five areas have yet to arrive to the consumer market, let alone receive mass market adoption.  Nevertheless, building a strategic patent portfolio around these technical advances can protect a company’s market position in the future and generate additional revenue streams as they materialize.

To strategically develop a comprehensive and future-proof patent portfolio, companies can first perform a competitive benchmark analysis or landscape analysis to determine the amount of innovation in technology areas of interest.  A deeper-dive into a technology area can reveal geographic hubs and key players, including their strengths/weakness and business practices.  This insight can help a company with market entry due diligence decisions, which can enable the company to not only differentiate themselves from the current market, but hopefully maintain this edge in the future when autonomous vehicles eventually become commonplace.

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

Insights