UnitedLex Data Analysis Reveals U.S. Electric and Autonomous Vehicle Patent Costs to Triple as Cost of Innovation Skyrockets

Balancing emerging and legacy tech is imperative as patent maintenance for 30 top automakers will exceed $500M over next five years

NEW YORK, June 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UnitedLex, a leading data and professional services company specializing in litigation, intellectual property, contracts, compliance, and legal operations, announced the release of Patent Insights from Times of Industry Transformation, The UnitedLex Automotive U.S. Patent Lapse Analysis, vol. 3, the final installment of its series examining the financial impact of patent lapse strategies for major automotive manufacturers. The report focuses on the rise of autonomous and electric vehicles, the decline of the internal combustion engine, and the associated impact on original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) and their suppliers’ patent portfolios. 

According to its analysis, UnitedLex reports Engines & Emissions has the highest lapse rates of all patent categories, with an industry average of 24%. On the other end of the spectrum, two categories stand out with the lowest lapse rates: Battery & Charging (industry average of 14%), and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) (industry average of 13%) with some OEMs lapsing at or below 10% in both.

“As the automotive industry transitions toward an electric future, OEMs and suppliers should closely monitor patents and ensure their renewal strategies are aligning to the shifting technology landscape versus what is growing obsolete,” said Joe Dearing, Executive Vice President, Global Intellectual Property, UnitedLex. “A refocused patent lapse strategy can quickly unlock significant cost savings that can be reinvested into new innovation.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Among the more than 100,000 patents studied in the analysis, U.S. electric and autonomous vehicle patent renewal costs are set to triple to $100M annually over the next five years.
  • With patent portfolios reflecting their strategic investments in automotive innovation, large OEMs and suppliers can use patent lapsing strategies to save 20-30% per year in renewal fees. 
  • A sharp increase in portfolio costs is on the horizon for Toyota, Ford, GM, and Hyundai, implying heavy investment in the Autonomous & ADAS portions of their portfolios with maturing patents.
  • OEMs and suppliers lapse on average 10% at Gate 1, 25% at Gate 2, and 38% at Gate 3. Falling below the average at any of these ranges, but especially at Gates 2 and 3 indicates a noticeable gap in spending versus potential savings for those companies.
  • At an industry average of 24%, nearly all OEMs lapsed Engines & Emissions patents at higher rates in recent years, more than any other category across automotive, showing a declining prominence of the internal combustion engine.

Patent Insights from Times of Industry Transformation, The UnitedLex Automotive U.S. Patent Lapse Analysis, vol. 3 follows vol. 1 which analyzed Tesla’s evolving approach to patent lapse management and how it runs counter to public comments made by its leader Elon Musk, and vol. 2 which focused on many of the world’s largest automotive OEMs whose massive U.S. patent portfolios represent billions of dollars of shareholder value. Through its proprietary Vantage for IP Lapse Platform, UnitedLex generated visual aids and calculated lapse rates for 30 top companies within seconds of ingesting the portfolios.

Download your copy of Patent Insights from Times of Industry Transformation, The UnitedLex Automotive U.S. Patent Lapse Analysis, vol. 3 today.

Later this year, UnitedLex will publish a comprehensive report, including profiles of 30 OEMs and suppliers in the automotive industry. That report will provide a comparative view of patent lapse and renewal statistics, compare data between suppliers and original equipment manufacturers, highlight geographical trends, and present noteworthy observations derived from technological trends.

About UnitedLex

UnitedLex is a data and professional services company delivering outcomes that create value for high-performing law firms and corporate legal departments in the areas of litigation, intellectual property, contracts, compliance, and legal operations. Founded in 2006 with a mission to push the boundaries of legal innovation, we provide solutions that enable measurable performance improvement, risk mitigation, revenue gain, cost reduction, and digital business synergy. Our team of 3,000+ legal, data, and technology professionals supports our clients from operational centers around the world. 

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Patent Insights From Times of Industry Transformation