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How will artificial intelligence impact automotive IP protection strategies?

As AI becomes more prevalent in the mobility ecosystem, companies may need to become more strategic in how they protect intellectual property.

www.automotiveworld.com, Oct. 14, 2020 – 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is proving pivotal in addressing the complex challenges faced by automotive manufacturers and mobility providers. Systems that can learn for themselves promise to rewrite the rulebook for insurance risk assessment, driver assistance and safety features, and traditional production and product development processes.

Mobility players are investing heavily in the space and–judging by the number of AI-related patent filings–interest is growing. But at the same time, the increased prevalence of AI within the mobility ecosystem could raise issues around intellectual property (IP) strategies. Some legal experts are warning that companies may need to become more strategic in how they protect their IP to maximise business value.

IP protection: a good fit

The World Intellectual Property Organisation characterises the period between 2012 and today as an "AI patent boom" driven by increased data and connectedness along with greater computer power. Of all AI-related patents filed, 42% were in the areas of transportation, telecoms, or life and medical sciences.

Transportation in particular has been powering ahead. The industry represented just 20% of AI applications in 2006. By 2016 it accounted for one-third with more than 8,700 filings. But when it comes to classification areas, the lines are blurred. "Sometimes it is hard to capture the true scope of what AI is, and further, what would be considered to fall within automotive," cautions Pavan Agarwal, Partner at international law firm Foley & Lardner.

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