Autonomous Cars and E-vehicles: IP as a Strategic Advantage

‘Self-driving Cars and E-vehicles: IP as a Strategic Advantage’

Recent research has established the fact that Indian Automotive companies are setting up new research facilities where the thrust will be on innovation & futuristic technologies.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is about to reshape the Global Auto Industry with the advent of self-driven & electric cars. Emphasis on in-house research & IP compliance is one aspect in which Indian companies have started following on the footsteps of the European counterparts though they still have a long way to go in bridging the gap. To address this issue, The Ministry of Electronics & IT, Government of India (MeitY) together with the European Patent Office (EPO), European Business Technology Centre (EBTC) and Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), organized a seminar on “Alignment of IP with Strategies of Aspiring Businesses from India’s Automotive Sector” on 3 rd April 2019 in New Delhi. Exhaustive Technical and strategic discussions took place which catered to a wide variety of audience comprising of IP managers and attorneys as well as decision makers from the industry and academicians. One observation that stood out was that the IPR intensive industries contributed heavily to the European Economy.

Mr. Gerard Owens, representing the EPO, emphasized on the importance of the 4th industrial revolution paving the way for a convergence between the Auto and ICT sectors and emerging areas of opportunity such as autonomous and electric vehicles which will lead to more innovation and patents.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Electronics & IT, Government of India; Dr A. K. Garg delivered the keynote address in which he gave an umbrella view of current trends in innovation and R&D scenario in automobile industry. He also spoke about the necessity of knowledge driven economy, as well as Meity schemes such as TIDE 2.0, MeitY Start-up Hub and Centre of Excellence that together play a big part towards making India a knowledge driven economy.

Some other notable observations were:

·When compared to countries like the USA, Japan, Republic of Korea, China and Germany; India is still lagging far when it comes to filing of patents in the European Market

·Even though the domestic patent filing count of Indian auto companies has seen a steady rise, they have hardly managed to tap into the potential of the European Market

·The European automotive industry has put in close to 60 billion EUR into R&D and yielded more than 15000 patents

·Share of patents with regards to software related inventions, has seen a growth from 36% in 1998 to 63% in 2014

·The USA & Europe together have reigned supreme in this space (study published by the EPO in 2018 on “Patents and self-driving vehicles (SDV)”)

·The Top 25 applicants of SDV related inventions combined, account for 40% of all such patents at the EPO

·Recent patent filing trends show that traditional auto companies are being slowly outpaced, as leading IT companies are filling the void when it comes to research & innovation

·The private sector in European markets plays a crucial role in creating and filing of patents whereas in India the public sector is more dominant when it comes to filing patents.

·Many Indian start-ups opt to choose trade secrets over filing patents to save time and fast deployment of their products to the market.

The conclusion drawn was that more and more Indian auto companies seemed to be adopting an extremely progressive view on intellectual property by putting more emphasis on research, innovation & IP compliance.

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