Posts Tagged: "Ford"

OEM Trademarks in the AfterMarket: Exploring the Boundaries

While there are certainly limits on how—and how much—aftermarket sellers can use OEM trademarks to communicate key information about aftermarket parts, the legal boundaries for aftermarket sellers are not always clear. And, in the automotive industry, the question of legal boundaries is perhaps most intriguing when the trademark concerned is one of product configuration. Indeed, several U.S. auto companies own incontestable trademarks registrations for various source-identifying parts of their automobiles such as grilles, headlights, and fenders. In light of such perpetual trademark rights in these part configurations, how can aftermarket sellers offer visually identical replacement grilles, headlights or fenders without significant risk of a trademark infringement claim from the auto companies?

Board Improperly Interpreted Incorporation by Reference

While the Court affirmed several of the Board’s validity findings, it reversed the determination that the ’455 PCT qualifies as prior art. At issue was the extent to which the ‘817 application included the disclosures of Severinsky, so that challenged claims would antedate the ‘455 PCT. Paice argued that Severinsky was incorporated into the ‘817 application and was not prior art. Therefore, certain challenged claims could rely on Severinsky for the ‘817 priority date, which was earlier than the ’455 PCT.

PTAB denied institution of CBM against automotive feature consolidation patent under Unwired Planet standard

In a surprisingly restrained decision, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) released a decision denying institution of a covered business method (CBM) review proceeding on a patent that is tangentially related to financial activity… Ford alleged that its claim was further supported by the ‘080 patent’s description of market regions for which the consolidated models could be constructed. “The configuration process/system claimed in the ‘080 patent is at least ‘incidental to’ or ‘complementary to’ a financial activity, such as the sale of automobiles,” Ford’s petition reads.

Ford receives record number of U.S. patents during 2016 after consistent increases in R&D

Dearborn, MI-based automaker Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) recently issued a press release, which heralded the 1,442 patents granted to the company by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during 2016, a total which Ford says is the most among any automaker filing for U.S. patents that year. That total marks the largest number of U.S. patents awarded to Ford in any one calendar year, a 25 percent increase over 2015 which was itself a record year for Ford patent application filings. Globally, Ford received 3,200 patents grants during 2016.

Automakers own most vehicle infotainment patents despite gains by Android Auto, Apple CarPlay

Autonomous self-driving technologies may be grabbing headlines for vehicle manufacturers but it’s hardly the only direction in which carmakers are innovating. Infotainment systems bring a smartphone-like platform for software applications straight to the dashboard, providing everything from navigation assistance to streaming music services and even phone call capabilities. Knob-based radio and air conditioning controls are being replaced by touch-sensitive displays and voice-controlled services connecting drivers and passengers to Internet-based services. According to market research reports, the market for in-car infotainment systems is expected to rise from $14.4 billion in 2016 up to $35.2 billion in 2020.

How Autonomous Vehicles Work: The different shades of autonomy ranging up to a fully self-driving car

When considering what makes an autonomous vehicle truly autonomous, it’s important to note that there are different shades of autonomy leading up to the fully self-driving car. One of the organizations which maintains a rubric helping to define autonomous vehicles is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which recognizes five different levels of autonomy for vehicles, starting with Level 0, the most basic tier in which the driver controls all operations, as is the case for conventional vehicles today. Level 1 function-specific automation is reached when a single control function is automated, such as when electronic stability control systems help drivers maintain vehicle control, without completely replacing the need for driver vigilance. Level 2 combined function automation occurs when two primary control functions are designed to work together to relieve a driver…

Looking back on 2015, autonomous and electric vehicles dominate car tech headlines

In many ways, 2015 has been the year of the automobile, especially in the tech world. Throughout the course of the year we’ve noted a great deal of business and technological developments that have been reshaping the entire vehicle manufacturing sector. Gone are the days that the market is completely dominated by names such as General Motors Company, Ford Motor Company or Toyota Motor Corp. As 2015 draws to a close, these traditional automaker behemoths are seeing encroachment on their position from some unusual names, especially those residing in Silicon Valley.

Tech Round-Up: Toyota Invests in AI, EU Safe Harbor Invalidated, New Android Chip Designs

American business interests could be adrift at sea after the European Court of Justice invalidated the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement, which governs the transfer of data from European citizens to data centers outside of Europe. Meanwhile, the high tech world of Silicon Valley is getting a new, well-heeled neighbor when Japanese automaker Toyota Motors Corp. (NYSE:TM) realizes its plans of establishing a new five-year corporate venture focused on developing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Google is also undertaking the push to develop its own processing chips in an effort to stem fragmentation of Android device development.

In the global race for Electric Vehicle innovation, America tops Japan for first place

When looking specifically at patents that specifically mention “electric vehicles,” it looks as though there are reasons to feel good about America’s place in the world. Both Ford and General Motors Company are atop the leaderboard in this sector, placing first and second overall respectively. One Ford technology developed to allow electric vehicle owners to make sure that electricity drawn from a vehicle comes from renewable sources is outlined within U.S. Patent No. 9024571, entitled ‘Charging of Electric Vehicles Based on Historical Clean Energy Profiles.’ General Motors is hoping to change the perception that Electric Vehicles are capable of only short range use, as evident by recently issued U.S. Patent No. 9002552, titled “Compact Electric Range Extender for an Electric Vehicle.”

GM ahead of Ford in autonomous vehicle development, but Google trumps both

The development of robust vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication systems are needed for the incorporation of self-driving cars on our roads and GM has been working on its own V2V systems. With 25 U.S. patents, Ford has a much smaller autonomous driving patent portfolio than GM but we managed to find some interesting technologies. Fiat Chrysler is an Italian-American company with London headquarters so it seems sort of suspect to continue considering them as part of the Big Three. In any event, the most recent patent we could find for an autonomous navigation technology was issued to FCA in 2007, showing us that there’s not much autonomous vehicle development going on at the company anyway. It is, however, interesting to note that the first-place overall in the autonomous driving R&D sector is California-based Google, which holds 145 U.S. patents in this field.

American auto industry has lost former dominance but retains some luster

When you think about the american auto industry it’s becoming clearer every day that the idea of American-made or Japanese-made is not black and white. Increasingly, the innovative technologies going into the vehicles being sold in our country are also coming from overseas. It’s pretty telling that industry data indicates that there are no truly American-made cars being sold anymore. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2015 American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) report shows that the cars constructed with the most American parts still had foreign parts used in at least one-quarter of the vehicle’s construction. Most of the cars that were three-quarters composed of American parts were made by General Motors Company, including the Buick Enclave, the Cadillac CTS and the Chevrolet Corvette.

Fuel cell vehicle development increases despite EV dominance in alternative fuel car market

Car manufacturers around the world tend to fall into either the EV or the FCV camp when assessing their developments in alternative fuel-powered vehicles. There are far more players in the electric vehicle field, which is headed up by Nissan Motor Company (TYO:7201) and Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA). In 2014, those two companies accounted for nearly 60,000 new vehicle sales, about half of all new electric vehicle sales that year. Other car makers developing electric vehicles include BMW, Ford, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen. Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) occupies the lead position among hydrogen fuel cell vehicle makers in terms of development. This January, we profiled Toyota’s decision to offer cost-free licensing of nearly 6,000 hydrogen fuel cell patents only a few months after Tesla decided to completely open source the few hundred EV patents it holds in its corporate portfolio.

Ford car sharing evidence of shift in value of vehicle ownership

Ford filed a similar patent application more than a year after Getaround filed the ‘891 patent application and last November Ford was issued U.S. Patent No. 8880239, entitled Credential Check and Authorization Solution for Personal Vehicle Rental. This patent protects a vehicle having a processor configured to receive rental data which originated from an administrative system remote from the vehicle, specify credentials for authorized users and a threshold speed, enable keyless drive away if the credentials have been satisfied and issue an administrative warning if the vehicle exceeds the threshold speed. It could be argued that the only major difference between the Ford and Getaround technologies is the fact that Ford manufactures a vehicle and can thereby hide their “abstract idea” of personal vehicle rental requests under the guise of vehicle innovation, which Getaround cannot do.

John Deere, GM push back against consumer modifications of vehicle software

One of the more active areas during this round of public comments collected by the Copyright Office involves the prohibitions against circumvention for Proposed Class 21, which covers vehicle software for diagnosis, repair or modification. John Deere also suggests that enabling these exemptions could encourage the piracy of copyrighted music or film recordings by tampering with infotainment software systems installed on vehicles. As well, modifying vehicle software to reduce the car’s maximum speed when lending it to a teenager or activate lights when the windshield wipers are turned on, both of which are suggested by John Deere, constitutes commercial activity which goes against non-profit fair use principles used to consider exemptions.

Ford patent licensing announcement may signal end of NIH bias in auto industry

In the automotive industry, it seems as though companies cannot give their patents away fast enough. The firesale began in earnest last June when Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced to the world that neither he nor his company would enforce their patent rights on innovations made using their lithium-ion battery technologies. This decision to open source about 200 U.S. patents was bested in January of this year when Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota released a portfolio of more than 5,500 patents in the area of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles through a cost-free licensing program. Most recently, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has joined this collaborative jamboree, announcing that it would facilitate licensing of more than 650 patents and about 1,000 patent applications in the field of electric vehicles (EVs).