Posts Tagged: "automotive"

Patent Trends Study Part Five: Automotive Industry

It has been a wild decade for the automotive industry, with U.S. auto brands almost dying in the Great Recession. Federal government intervention rescued brands and attempted to turn them toward efficiency instead of profitable large SUVs. Although there has been a steep increase in patent filings in the automotive space, U.S. companies have a smaller proportion of them, indicating global forces are a major threat. This is especially acute in the area of electric propulsion, where our early patent lead has plateaued. Many of the car brands and battery innovators have been sold to Chinese interests who are moving quickly with government support to dominate the car industry, at least for electric vehicles (EVs). Our study not only identified a set of applications that pertained to this industry, but also—for each application in this set—we determined whether the application pertained to one or more of the categories shown in the topology below. If so, the application was appropriately tagged, such that it could be included in one or more category-specific data subsets for subsequent analysis.

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.

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?

3M files patent and trademark suit against Chinese manufacturer of spray gun paint preparation system

On September 21st, Saint Paul, MN-based technology and materials company 3M (NYSE:MMM) filed a lawsuit alleging patent and trademark infringement committed by Shanghai, China-based Thunder Finish. The lawsuit targets Thunder Finish’s marketing of paint preparation products developed by 3M which are meant to simplify the use and cleanup of liquid paint spray guns. The suit is filed in the Western District of Wisconsin.

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.

Evolution of Auto Exhaust Catalysts: Dr. Haren Gandhi invents three-way catalysts for cleaner exhaust

Improvements in fuel economy and reduced emissions are largely the result of fuel additives and exhaust catalyst equipment working to clean up the chemicals emitted when fuel is burned. This Friday, April 7th, marks the 25th anniversary of the issue of a seminal patent in the field of automotive exhaust catalyst. The inventor, Indian-born American inventor Haren S. Gandhi, is an inductee this year into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Today, we’ll take the opportunity to revisit our Evolution of Technology series to look back at the development of technologies which have left us with cleaner breathing air than we would have had thanks to Americans’ heavy reliance on automobiles.

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.

Alphabet’s Waymo files patent and trade secret lawsuit against Uber

Waymo’s suit includes counts of infringement for each of the four patents asserted in the case. The suit also includes counts for violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act and state claims for violations of the California Uniform Trade Secret Act. Waymo is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, damages for patent infringement including trebled damages for infringement of the ‘922, ‘464 and ‘273 patents and punitive damages among other forms of relief.

GM and Honda announce joint investment in fuel cell development, marrying two largest patent portfolios in the field

The official announcement released by both GM and Honda notes that both companies enjoy patent portfolios related to fuel cell battery technologies, which are among the world’s largest. A review of clean energy patents granted during 2015 by the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) shows that GM and Honda rank first and second, respectively, among companies that have been assigned U.S. patents directed at fuel cells between 2002 and 2015; the press release from the companies contradicts this slightly, claiming that Honda is third-place in this category. During the 14 years surveyed by the CEPGI, GM has earned 918 U.S. patents on fuel cells and related technologies while Honda has earned 757 U.S. patents.

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.

DOT unveils new policy guidance for autonomous vehicle developers

The Obama administration is hoping to add some clarity to the regulatory picture by unveiling a new set of guidelines in a 100-page federal automated vehicles policy document. The guidance requires autonomous vehicle developers to provide a safety assessment to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discussing 15 areas of safety evaluation. The guidelines, which have been issued through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), identify 11 areas of safety evaluation related to cross-cutting technologies that apply to all automation functions on a vehicle.

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.

The new Elon Musk master plan for Tesla reeks of overconfidence

Elon Musk’s updated master plan reeks of overconfidence. He envisions entire fleets of autonomous Tesla vehicles while missing recent sales targets by thousands of units. He wants to pump massive amounts of money into R&D for autonomous technologies and new types of vehicles, but the company is having trouble with bleeding warranty costs which are double the amount seen at Ford or GM. The lack of timeline details in the master plan was not well received by financial analysts and Tesla stock was down by 3 percent in the days after the announcement.

Thor’s purchase of Jayco is big merger in recreational vehicle sector during summer camping season

The market for recreational vehicles in America has been doing pretty well in recent years. A 2011 study sponsored by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) pegs the number of households which own an RV at 8.9 million, a new high figure for RV ownership which is a full one million more households than was found in a 2005 study. The average age of ownership dropped by a year to 48 years with owners having a median income of $62,000. The strongest ownership growth was seen in the age range of 35 years to 54 years. RVIA shipping statistics for the first four months of 2015 show that RV shipments during the first quarter of that year reached more than 135,000 units among travel trailers, campers, motorhomes and towable RVs.

Automakers Lead Silicon Valley in Self-Driving Car Development

The patent landscape for self-driving vehicles is also quickly expanding. As of 2013, patent applications related to this technology hit 2,500 per year. That rate is expected to increase. A lot of attention has been paid to the entry of major tech firms, including Google, thanks in part to eyebrow-raising technologies like their patent for an adhesive material for a car’s hood that is designed to “catch” a pedestrian who is inadvertently struck by an autonomous vehicle. But tech companies should expect plenty of competition. Despite reports that Silicon Valley tech giants are entering the autonomous vehicle race and risk upsetting the traditional market, a study from Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property and Science indicates that long-time automakers have taken the lead in autonomous vehicle development in terms of patents and patent applications.