Gowling WLG calls for auto industry to learn from telecoms' history to stay ahead on CAV development

01 May 2019

Gowling WLG's latest report discussing the impact of intellectual property (IP) on the future of mobility recommends that the automotive industry needs to learn from telecoms' history if it is to remain in the lead on Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) development.

'Owning the Road: The Impact of IP on the Future of Mobility', the latest white paper from the international law firm, explores how existing IP protection and enforcement strategies may affect the automotive industry of the future.

Exploring current approaches to patenting CAV technology and the existence and development of technical standards associated with these new automotive technologies, the report urges automotive manufacturers and suppliers to take note of telecoms' past, and adopt new approaches to information sharing, IP rights, and market regulation to accelerate the development of CAVs.

The report highlights the threat from the technology sector and new market entrants, as well as the need to appeal to Millennials, and recommends that the automotive industry moves away from traditional processes to design mobility 'systems', rather than personal vehicles.

Stuart Young, Head of Automotive at Gowling WLG, said: "To accelerate the pace of change, automotive and tech companies must become more prominent in discussions regarding the development of new technology standards and automotive applications".

"Without a concerted effort by traditional automotive manufacturers and suppliers to adopt innovation, there is a potential danger that the autonomous vehicle market could be stifled by a power-struggle."

"Cooperation is essential in order for CAVs to be effective and to achieve their long-term benefits. Competitor firms need to be increasingly open to information sharing to ensure mechanical systems and connectivity solutions can interact safely and effectively. Companies must also have greater involvement in developing standards and sharing solutions to help to minimise the risk of being involved in patent litigation."

Experts from sector-leaders internationally featured within the white paper also call for increased information sharing as part of an industry-wide collaboration, taking the form of formal partnerships and joint ventures. Moving away from the conventional thinking that regulation stifles innovation, experts suggest regulation must be discussed at a global level, and that companies must embrace this regulation to succeed whilst remaining competitive.

This white paper is the fifth in a series that Gowling WLG is producing in conjunction with UK Autodrive. The series will cover many of the most interesting elements affecting the dynamic developments around autonomous and connected vehicles, including data protection, moral algorithms (ethical software coding), cyber security and social policies.

UK Autodrive is the largest of three UK consortia launched to support the introduction of self-driving vehicles into the UK. UK Autodrive brings together leading technology and automotive businesses, forward-thinking local authorities and academic institutions to deliver a major three-year UK trial of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies. UK Autodrive is being supported by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency.

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