Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Is Congress Finally Getting Serious About Curtailing Design Patents in the Auto Industry?

In recent years, OEMs have been growing their design patent portfolios at a rapid pace.  Specifically, OEMs have been securing patent protection on replacement parts, including bumpers, fascias, light fixtures, mirrors, hoods, and trunks, providing them with additional leverage over suppliers and aftermarket competitors for the entire 15 year life of a design patent.… Continue reading this entry

What the Supreme Court’s Latest Patent Decision Means for Automotive Suppliers

patent
Although U.S. patent law has long-established limits on enforcement after a patented product has been sold, the technological innovations may put a bulls-eye on the automotive industry for patent litigation.  However, when suppliers patent components sold to other downstream suppliers or to OEMs, the list of potential patent infringers may have just gotten a lot … Continue reading this entry

The Future of High Tech Patent Litigation in the Auto Industry

Intellectual Property
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.… Continue reading this entry

5 Measures International Auto Companies Can Take to Avoid Being Named in an ITC Complaint

international
The Automotive Industry is international. That’s no secret. It crosses continents in its industry shows and its proud place in furious pop-culture films. More practically, many companies that operate within the industry have stakes in both domestic and foreign soil. This comes into play when considering the supply chain and FCPA compliance as well. Most … Continue reading this entry

Connected Cars: Navigating Top Trends in 2017

Yesterday, the Automotive Industry Team of Foley & Larnder LLP (yes, us), hosted its annual event at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI. Eschewing narrow or small topics, we charged into 2017 by trying to predict just what would happen with connected cars in 2017. Our day started with Joseph Kwederis, Automotive Cyber … Continue reading this entry

Car Technologies Capture Attention, Excitement at CES 2017

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, automotive technology continued its growing role at the show and shared the spotlight with virtual and augmented reality systems, video recording toothbrushes, and smart home products such as hairbrushes, beds, and chairs.  Automotive technology companies made up about one fifth of the exhibitors, and the exhibitors are creating ripples … Continue reading this entry

Navigating Connected Cars in 2017: Data Protection

It’s a fact: today’s marketplace has given connected cars the green light. As an OEM or supplier accelerating to create products to meet industry demand, what challenges can you anticipate in 2017? Here is the second installment (following up our post on IP Protection) describing where we believe your attention should be focused during the … Continue reading this entry

Navigating Connected Cars in 2017

It’s a fact: today’s marketplace has given connected cars the green light. As an OEM or supplier accelerating to create products to meet industry demand, what challenges can you anticipate in 2017? Here’s one area we think you should be focused on… IP Protection Perhaps the most valuable asset for companies in advanced technology areas … Continue reading this entry

The New Supreme Court Term: Cases for the Automotive Industry to Watch

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections
A new Supreme Court term is once again underway. This one looks to be unique in that it is likely to be an eight-Justice bench into 2017—with Republican leaders standing firm on their refusal to go forward with confirming any nominee appointed by President Obama, it is likely that any new ninth justice will have … Continue reading this entry

Design Patents and Copyrights for Designs on Useful Articles

Two recent cases illustrate the potential benefits of protecting intellectual property rights with both design patents and copyrights, particularly for an article that has both utility and a design, including because a design patent infringement analysis may sometimes be more straightforward to apply. In a design patent case, Columbia Sportswear North America, Inc. v. Seirus … Continue reading this entry

Enjoy Your Holiday Weekend!

The Dashboard Insights team wishes you a safe and happy Labor Day. We’ll be back to our regular posting on Thursday, September 8. Thanks for your continued support of our blog!… Continue reading this entry

Could the Flying Car Finally Take Off?

Autonomous vehicles have been hailed as the solution to overcrowded roads and their impact on America’s aging infrastructure. However, recent accidents involving automated vehicles have some wondering if having less cars on the road is a better long-term approach. As it turns out, the world’s top automaker might be developing technology that will take cars … Continue reading this entry

Most Frequently Hacked Industries Now Includes Manufacturing

Second only to health care, the manufacturing industry is now one of the most frequently hacked industries (according to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index). And more importantly, automotive manufacturing was the top targeted manufacturing sub-industry, accounting for almost 30% of the total attacks against manufacturers in 2015. Security incidents were up a whopping 66% … Continue reading this entry

The Auto Industry Has a New Weapon To Protect Its Secrets

President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) into law on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Members of the auto industry spend significant time and money developing trade secrets that give them a competitive advantage. The DTSA provides the auto industry with a new method to protect its valuable trade secrets. Prior to the DTSA, most trade … Continue reading this entry

Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Technologies

The innovation and capabilities of vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies are ever-expanding and on center stage in the automotive industry. Not to worry, Foley has got you covered. Did you miss the below post from September? 6 months later it is as timely as ever! Be sure to also see our most recent post on the U.S. Army Helping … Continue reading this entry

Who Owns the Patent?: The Validity of Automatic Assignment Provisions

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is currently considering a petition for en banc rehearing of the “automatic patent assignment” rule announced in the Court’s 1991 decision in FilmTec Corp. v. Allied-Signal, Inc. See Alexander Shukh v. Seagate Tech. (Fed. Cir. 2015) (en banc petition). In FilmTec, the Federal Circuit determined that a … Continue reading this entry

A Perfect Storm for Automotive Patent Disputes?

As the automotive industry rebounds from its recessionary levels to an all time record level of spending on vehicles and healthy profitability, one of the key drivers of the increased vehicles sales has been increased innovation and major redesigns of vehicles. The number of new products in 2014 increased nearly 50% compared to the preceding … Continue reading this entry

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles - Moving Forward in High Gear

This is my second and final installment in reporting on the Center for Automotive Research (CAR)’s 50th annual “Management Briefing Seminars” conference held earlier this month in Traverse City, Michigan. Connected and Automated Vehicles:  Competition, Rules and Interesting Times The first presentation on day one included a fantastic group of panelists from automotive suppliers, government agencies … Continue reading this entry

Self-Driving Cars - "IP Driving Acquisition"

As Chair of Foley & Lardner’s Electronics Practice Group, I recently published a LinkedIn article about news reports of a group of German auto companies including BMW, Audi and Daimler acquiring HERE Global (Nokia’s map business) for U.S. $2.8 billion. Reuters says that HERE’s primary competitor is Google Maps. The Reuters article said that the auto companies outbid … Continue reading this entry

Is It Time to Switch Gears? Enforceability of Automotive Company Employee Confidentiality Restrictions

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?
Given the large workforces and importance of intellectual property and trade secrets in the automotive industry, automotive companies rely heavily on confidentiality provisions in employment agreements and employee handbooks. Thanks to a recent enforcement action brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it may be time to review and revise these confidentiality provisions.… Continue reading this entry

Yesterday’s Car Buff Is Today’s Hacker

If you need any evidence that modern vehicles are becoming more computer than car, look no further than this month’s over-the-air update from Tesla Motors pushed out to all of its Model S sedans. Like the latest iOS from Apple or a Security Update from Microsoft, a car manufacturer has the ability to remotely and automatically … Continue reading this entry

The Auto Industry: The Next “Big” Target for Hackers?

Given the exponential rise in security breaches and hacking activity in past few years and the almost constant headlines in the press of yet another major security breach, information security should be a front burner issue for every business. While the auto industry has, for the most part, avoided being a primary target for hackers in … Continue reading this entry

European Trade Secrets Directive Looks to Unify and Strengthen Protection of Proprietary Business Information in the EU

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?
Home to several of the world’s largest OEMs, and a major place of operations for others, Europe has a thriving automotive industry. As borders have become more and more open in the European Union, OEMs and their suppliers often have operations in several different countries. However, these businesses, as do those in other industries, then have to … Continue reading this entry