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An estimated 21 million fully and semi-autonomous vehicles will be on the roads by 2035, many with Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication-based technologies augmenting their on-board radar and camera-based systems. This expansive new market offers incredible opportunities for existing automotive suppliers and new, tech-based market entrants as well as other non-automotive participants in the connected vehicle network.
Dickinson Wright is uniquely positioned in the autonomous and connected-vehicle space, and we offer our clients the practical guidance necessary to navigate its increasingly complex legal landscape.
Leveraging our strong presence in the automotive industry from Detroit to Ontario and the South, as well as our foothold in the software and information-technology industries, our team delivers superior legal advice. We have the industry insight, the technical knowledge and the experience to help you drive your business forward.
Taking into account your goals, your business model, and your unique product offerings, we develop customized solutions to some of the biggest legal issues facing the autonomous-vehicle market:
In this time of game-changing disruptive technologies and rapid innovation, protecting your company’s intellectual property is mission critical. Our deep bench of patent lawyers includes specialists in every major discipline, including those most relevant to connected-vehicle technology, such as electronics, communications, and computer engineering.
In addition to prosecuting and protecting intellectual property rights, the Dickinson Wright team provides overall portfolio- management advice to some of the largest suppliers in the industry. And we regularly help our clients to leverage-and monetize- their holdings.
SOFTWARE AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
As vehicles have become increasingly automated, information technology has become a part of doing business in the automotive industry. At Dickinson Wright, our extensive IT client base ranges from start-ups in need of capital to international companies with significant portfolios and licensing operations.
From financing to licensing and regulatory advice, we help new tech companies enter the market. We also represent existing automotive suppliers in connection with the acquisitions and joint ventures necessary to compete in the autonomous-vehicle space.
DATA PRIVACY AND CYBERSECURITY
Innovations in connected-vehicle technology allow for collection of data critical to improving vehicle safety. At the same time, privacy considerations and concerns over cybersecurity are driving consumer concern, industry collaboration and regulatory change. The Dickinson Wright team monitors industry actions and the evolving regulatory framework to assist clients in addressing these issues.
SAFETY REGULATION AND PRODUCT LIABILITY
The increased adoption of automated vehicle technologies is predicted to drastically reduce the occurrence of motor-vehicle accidents. But these technologies raise their own potential safety concerns. Emerging federal regulations, guidelines, and guidance seek to address such issues against a backdrop of varied state product-liability laws and often inconsistent liability standards. Working with each client individually, the Dickinson Wright team helps to develop comprehensive plans to maximize compliance and minimize potential liability.
SUPPLY-CHAIN CONTRACTS AND SUPPLY CONTINUITY
Like traditional automotive suppliers, suppliers and customers that manufacture or purchase autonomous vehicle components face potential upstream and downstream contract disputes. And as vehicle technologies become more complex, so can the nature of these issues. Leveraging our experience in supply-chain contracting, the Dickinson Wright team works with clients to create customer and supplier agreements that minimize potential liability and avoid costly disputes.
We counsel clients on the changes in risk allocations occurring between traditional automotive and new technology companies; we also mitigate supply chain risks by developing proactive in-contract provisions that your company can implement in the event of distressed customers, supplier situations, and impending legal action. Not only was Dickinson Wright on the forefront of assisting clients with bankruptcy filings throughout the last major industry restructuring, we continue to support clients facing supply chain interruptions in the U.S. and Canada due to operational shutdowns, liquidations, CCAA or bankruptcy filings, and out-of- court restructurings.
Advanced driver assist systems have already given rise to litigation on a variety of fronts. Fully autonomous vehicles will follow suit. Dickinson Wright’s seasoned litigators vigorously and successfully represent clients in everything from significant patent disputes to complex, bet-the-company class actions, product-liability claims and commercial disputes. In cases of all sizes, our team is devoted to achieving optimal outcomes for our clients.
VEHICLE-TO-INFRASTRUCTURE (V2I) RELATED SUPPORT
Dickinson Wright is also well-positioned to provide legal support for regional and municipal government agencies, along with their private sector partners, in implementing V2I environments (including establishing, operating or maintaining components for expanded intelligent transportation systems to incorporate V2I technologies). Support is available from our traditional practice areas in real estate, government affairs, construction, technology, and environmental law.