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Automakers deal with patent hurdle in quest for in-car tech

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Automakers deal with patent hurdle in quest for in-car tech

2022-09-21 07:50:57

Over a dozen automakers together with Toyota and Nissan, have signed up with a platform for patent licences from 51 tech corporations, aiming to simplify entry to wi-fi expertise and keep away from expensive authorized battles.
Conflicts have stemmed partly from totally different views amongst carmakers, suppliers and tech companies over who ought to shoulder the price of licensing.

By unbiased licensing market Avanci, carmakers achieve entry to patents for 2G, 3G and 4G expertise from the likes of Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericcson and Taiwan’s Acer for every thing from navigation methods to sensors for automated driving.

Avanci fees a flat payment of $20 per automotive, elevated this month from $15 beforehand, with the cash distributed amongst patent holders. The brand new signings – which additionally embrace Renault, Stellantis, and Honda – imply 80-85% of automobiles with 2G expertise or larger are licensed by way of the platform, Avanci vice chairman Mark Durrant stated in an interview.
The mannequin permits carmakers to keep away from the battles over royalties that occurred between smartphone makers reminiscent of Apple and Samsung and telecoms corporations, who negotiate one-on-one for licences. “The auto market is simply too splintered for it to be price it for patent house owners to barter with every particular person participant,” stated an business supply, who declined to be named due to contractual agreements. “It is a matter of effectivity.

Mercedes-Benz, then Daimler, ended a years-long dispute over its patent use final 12 months with Nokia after being finally compelled to pay. Volkswagen was sued by Acer for utilizing its 4G expertise with out the suitable licence. The carmaker in March signed with Avanci, which covers Acer’s patents, to be able to settle.

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Whereas suppliers have traditionally paid for patent licences in areas like engine design, tech companies would quite deal instantly with carmakers over telecoms patents, in keeping with an auto business supply with expertise of licensing negotiations.

“Often suppliers deal with patents within the growth course of – telecoms is the one space the place they do not,” the particular person, who declined to be named, stated. Avanci can be working with corporations on a brand new contract to cowl 5G patents, which might probably be costlier than the present patent portfolio.

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