Working with clients in all areas of the automotive industry.

Bereskin & Parr’s Automotive practice group understands the unique challenges faced by innovators in the automotive industry. One such challenge arises from the fact that contracts between an OEM and a supplier for purchase and sale of a product will typically include security of supply provisions in favour of the OEM, effectively transferring any patent rights owned by the supplier to the OEM or a competitor. But without a patent, disclosing the product to potential customers is risky, and the value of the product to an OEM may be reduced if other OEMs are not restricted from including the product in their vehicles.

Another feature of the automotive industry that can complicate IP rights is the fact that most transactions between OEMs and suppliers are done using purchase orders issued by the OEM and acknowledgement forms issued by the supplier. Each of these forms will typically include standard terms and conditions, but these may be in conflict, and the impact on intellectual property rights may be unclear.

Furthermore, OEMs and suppliers alike face the ongoing damage that counterfeit goods cause not only to revenues, but also to brand reputation, particularly when a counterfeit product leads to safety concerns in a vehicle.

These few examples demonstrate some of the difficulties in defining a path forward that both supports business operations and protects intellectual property assets.

We can help. Our Automotive group includes IP professionals with a wide range of technical backgrounds and automotive industry experience. Each member of our group employs their knowledge of the complexities of IP rights in the automotive industry when advising clients on the type and scope of protection to be sought, whether in utility patents, designs, trademarks, or copyright. Clients for whom we have successfully done so include clients active in blow moulding technology and products, injection moulding equipment, extruded trim products, control engineering, power electronics, integrated circuit design, computer systems, and fuel cell technologies.

Our Services

The following list includes services that members of our Automotive practice group can provide:

  • Preparing and prosecuting patent, industrial design, and trademark applications worldwide.
  • Performing prior art searches.
  • Providing patentability, validity, and infringement opinions.
  • Enforcing and defending intellectual property rights, including court action where necessary.
  • Providing strategic advice on intellectual property portfolios.
  • Conducting intellectual property audits and due diligence investigations.
  • Advising on the intellectual property aspects of supply or distribution agreements.
  • Preparing and negotiating licensing agreements.
  • Registering copyright and integrated circuit topographies.
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