Posts Tagged: "autonomous vehicles"

Complex IP Challenges in Autonomous Vehicles

On August 16, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it had opened a probe into Tesla’s driver-assistance technologies after it identified 11 crashes since 2018 in which a Tesla vehicle had struck an emergency-response vehicle. All Tesla vehicles involved had been using the automaker’s Autopilot feature at the time of the crashes, which enables the vehicles to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically. The crashes have attracted the scrutiny of lawmakers and regulators of Autopilot and similar technologies. With increased attention being paid to AV safety, AV companies are shifting their research and development and IP strategies toward technologies designed to address consumers’ real-world safety concerns.

Searching for Answers to the Standard Essential Patent Problem

Later this year (likely in October), the United Kingdom’s highest court will hear arguments on questions arising in two disputes concerning standard essential patents (SEPs). The UK Supreme Court has agreed to hear appeals in Unwired Planet International Ltd and another v Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd and another UKSC 2018/0214 and the joined cases Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and another v Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL UKSC 2019/0041 and ZTE Corporation and another v Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL UKSC 2019/0042. The arguments are likely to focus on one question: can a national court impose a global license in SEP cases? The closely watched appeal will be the culmination of years of litigation between the parties. In the Unwired Planet case, Mr. Justice Birss of the High Court heard five trials on the validity and infringement/essentiality of Unwired Planet’s patents. In April 2017, he then gave a mammoth judgment determining what a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) license would be, and setting royalty rates. Critically, he found that only a worldwide license would be FRAND in the circumstances of this case. The England and Wales Court of Appeal upheld this conclusion, in a judgment in October 2018. The Supreme Court will likely sit in a five-judge panel in a hearing that will last about two days and will be live streamed on its website (the date and panel details have not been confirmed yet). It will hand down judgment later this year or early in 2020. (Ironically, patent specialist Lord Kitchin is a member of the Supreme Court but will not be sitting in this case as it is his own judgment that is under appeal.) You might have thought that—after decades of legal debate and academic writing, dozens of judgments addressing questions such as what constitutes a FRAND license and what are reasonable royalties, and extensive discussions between technology companies—the questions around SEPs would be close to being resolved. But that is far from the case. The outcome of the UK Supreme Court hearing, for instance, will have an impact on negotiations between owners of SEP portfolios and implementers worldwide, at a time when standards are set to become critical to many more industries.

Identifying Non-Traditional Competitors: Spotting Aliens in Traditional Technologies

We have seen it with respect to the largest tech companies entering the banking market, and now we are seeing it with tech companies entering the automotive industry. In this free webinar we will just the automotive industry as an example as to how one can identify non-traditional competitors entering traditional markets.

Exclusive: A Conversation on Self Driving Vehicles at the EPO with Roberta Romano-Götsch

During our previous interview Ms.Romano-Götsch mentioned that the EPO would be soon releasing a study on self driving vehicles. I expressed interest in speaking with her again once that study was published, and she agreed. Our conversation discussing this EPO study follows. In this wide-ranging conversation we discuss how traditional auto companies and big tech companies are both competing in the self driving space, and how the EPO is seeing an increase in applications from SMEs as well. We also discuss how the political climate in Europe surrounding a push for greater fuel efficiency and environmental concerns are a driving force behind autonomous driving initiatives across Europe.

Europe sees sharp rise in patent applications for self-driving vehicles

From 2011 to 2017, patent applications at the EPO for automated driving increased by 330%, compared to 16% across all technologies in the same period, according to the study, titled “Patents and self-driving vehicles”. And in the past ten years, the EPO received some 18 000 patent applications related to self-driving vehicles, with nearly 4,000 in 2017 alone. The study also shows that half of the top 25 companies active in this field at the EPO, including the top four applicants, are not traditional automotive/transport companies, but information, communication and technology (ICT) firms.

Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Transportation of Tomorrow Including Unmanned Shipping and Hyperloop Tech

One difficulty holding back the further implementation of hyperloop infrastructure is the fact that the new mode of transportation doesn’t fit neatly into existing regulatory framework. In response to a question from Sen. Thune on that subject, Raycroft noted that hyperloop systems were currently under the jurisdiction of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). This is despite the fact that certain aspects of hyperloop technology don’t fit neatly into the FRA’s regulatory framework for railroads, including vehicle bodies which are more similar to commercial aircraft. Raycroft said that engagement between the FRA and other agencies within the Department of Transportation could help speed the regulatory process while ensuring that passenger safety remained a top priority. In response to a later question from Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Raycroft said that, at the current pace, hyperloop technologies would be ready for widespread passenger use during the mid-2020s.

Exclusive with Roberta Romano-Götsch, Chief Operating Officer of Mobility and Mechatronics at EPO

I recently had the opportunity to go on the record with Roberta Romano-Götsch, the chief operating officer of Mobility and Mechatronics at the European Patent Office (EPO). In a wide ranging, two-part interview we discussed the new technology areas at the EPO, autonomous driving, engineering education, examiner training, what quality means to the EPO and more.

Ford Developing Autonomous Systems for Police Cars, Other Emergency Vehicles

A statement published on the official website of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) indicates that the company expects to have a fully autonomous car in commercial operation by 2021. Ford believes that it will be able, by that time, to produce a vehicle which meets Level 4 automation as standardized by the engineering association SAE International. Last October, Ford CEO Jim Hackett announced that Ford will bring autonomous vehicles to a test market this year. One of the strategies the company will pursue is partnering with other companies to help bring the technology into the market, such as autonomous Domino’s pizza delivery services in Miami where the company will test how consumers interact with autonomous delivery services. Ford is investing $ 1 billion into vehicle artificial intelligence firm Argo AI to develop systems that give Ford vehicles the ability to transverse an urban environment like Miami.

Patent Filings Increase for E-Cigarettes, 3-D Printing and Machine Learning

One interesting aspect of IFI CLAIMS’ most recent annual patent analysis is a list of eight areas of technology that have seen the fastest growing increases in patent applications between 2013 and 2017. To do this, IFI computed the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of patent applications for all Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) codes over the course of the study period to see which CPC codes were receiving the greatest number of patent applications. According to IFI’s analysis, the greatest growth in patent applications were for E-cigarettes and other technologies under the CPC code A24F for smokers’ requisites.

Protecting Automotive and Mobility Innovation in 2018

As autonomous vehicle and mobility technology continues to make headlines, federal legislation is making its way through Congress with the goal of removing government hurdles for the development, testing, and rollout of innovations in this space. Although this legislation primarily implicates R&D activity, IP portfolio managers at automotive OEMs and suppliers should be aware of several proposals that may ultimately impact patent filing strategies and information compartmentalization best practices in order to reduce risks from disclosure requirements that are part of the current legislation.

Some Lessons From the Waymo (Alphabet) Versus Uber Theft of Trade Secret Litigation

Although the amount of the settlement was far less than $2.7 billion in amount sought by Waymo, the settlement apparently did include a payment from Uber of 0.34% of Uber equity—or about $244.8 million in stock based on a $72 billion valuation of Uber… Both sides had a lot riding on the outcome of the trial. In addition to the billions in damages, Waymo was seeking an injunction to prevent Uber from using any technology that may have originated from Waymo, which would have been a huge set back for Uber’s program. Indeed, during his first day of being questioned, the former CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, agreed that developing autonomous vehicles amounts to an “existential question” for Uber, and that the market for driverless cars is likely to be “winner-take-all.”

Autonomous vehicle development keeps creeping forward to a self-driving future

Autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles are coming, even if it’s going to take some time for the technology to become fully operational on U.S. highways. When the technology catches up with the commercial demand, however, there’s little doubt that the market for autonomous vehicles will be huge. News reports from last June indicate that market research firm IHS Automotive published a report forecasting that almost 21 million driverless cars will be driven on roads across the world by the year 2035… Despite forays into the automotive world by Silicon Valley contenders like Tesla, Google’s Waymo and Uber, it seems that the coming generation of American research and development for self-driving cars will be centered in Detroit, long the center of the American automotive world.

Waymo drops three of four patent claims in its case against Uber

In a joint stipulation and order entered three claims of patent infringement were dropped in the intellectual property case being fought between San Francisco, CA-based transportation company Uber Technologies and Waymo, one of the subsidiaries of Google-owner Alphabet Inc. The order is one of the most recent filings in a case which has seen hundreds of documents filed since the case began this February. The case is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.).

Waymo v. Uber: a Gordian Knot Gets Tighter

In the annals of U.S. innovators, there are many infamous disputes between technology companies from Shockley and Fairchild in semiconductors to Microsoft and Apple in operating systems to today’s high-profile lawsuit of Waymo vs. Uber in driverless car technology. What initially started as a trade secrets litigation has mushroomed into a high stakes game involving patent infringement, unfair competition, private arbitration, unlawful termination and the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. It’s a virtual Gordian Knot of legal entanglements.

Microsoft, Toyota announce new licensing agreement for connected car IP

The licensing agreement, which covers patents directed at connected car technologies, is the latest partnership between these two companies seeking to increase entertainment and autonomous tech platforms within vehicles.,, In recent months, Microsoft has been ramping up licensing programs seeking to encourage the use of its patented technologies by auto manufacturers. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company announced the Microsoft Connected Car Platform, a development platform for connected car technologies using the Azure cloud.