May 30, 2018
Patsnap recently published a report on electric vehicle IP. From analysing their global patent dataset, they found that it is a growing area of innovation, with filings increasing year on year with a prediction of reaching 8,500 by 2020. What’s more is that while the established automotive firms including Hyundai, Toyota and Kia take the top spots in terms of patent filing numbers, the likes of Google’s Waymo, Apple, Samsung and Sony are entering the space, along with innovative start-ups such as Faraday Future and Superpedestrian.
Why it matters
The automotive industry is being disrupted by EVs in more ways than one. By combing a wide range of technologies, EVs bring together players who would not previously have had a stake in the transport sector. In fact, it’s now the case that one of the most valuable IP assets in the automotive industry belongs to Qualcomm. Not only are the traditional car manufacturers competing with each other, but now they also have to contend with entrants from other industries too. No wonder the patent space is heating up!
A little over a year ago, Canada acknowledged the need to improve their IP policy. Canada’s federal government used world IP day 2018 to publish a new IP strategy, in a bid to create a better innovation ecosystem and raise awareness about IP amongst entrepreneurs. In particular, they wish to improve IP legislation to “remove barriers to innovation, particularly any loopholes that allow those seeking to use IP in bad faith to stall innovation for their own gain”. This looks like a comment aimed directly at NPEs, with Canada looking to ensure that as NPEs use the US courts less, they don’t turn to Canada instead.
Why it matters
At present, Canada lies 18th in the Global IP Index, with a score of 26.5 vs the US’ 37.98. This indicates that the Canadian system is lacking, with the areas of weakness highlighted including some patent term restoration considerations which undermine Pharma patents and issues with border measures. IPWatchdog notes that measures introduced in the US aimed at impacting NPEs have ended up compromising the IP system entirely. Changing IP rights based on the business model of the patent owner is a dangerous area to tread, and all eyes will be on this amended legislation to see how exactly they choose to block out those using IP rights in “bad faith”.