By Salvador Bezos
As autonomous vehicle and mobility technology continues to make headlines, federal legislation is making its way through Congress with the goal of removing government hurdles for the development, testing, and rollout of innovations in this space. Although this legislation primarily implicates R&D activity, IP portfolio managers at automotive OEMs and suppliers should be aware of several proposals that may ultimately impact patent filing strategies and information compartmentalization best practices in order to reduce risks from disclosure requirements that are part of the current legislation.
By way of background, on September 6, 2017 the House passed H.R. 3388, titled the “Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution” (SELF DRIVE) Act, by voice vote. This bi-partisan Act provides a federal framework for the development and manufacture of autonomous vehicles. Supporters believe this framework will ease the regulatory burden on automakers and suppliers to roll out life-saving autonomy and life-enriching mobility technology. Opponents have expressed a concern over federal preemption of safety standards without an adequate consumer protection framework in place.