Earlier this month, the news reported that several automakers, including BMW, Audi and Daimler, agreed to acquire HERE Global (Nokia’s map business) for $2.8 billion. Reuters reported that HERE’s primary competitor is Google Maps, and that the automakers outbid Uber and Baidu.
Why would the automakers pay billions for an alternative to Google Maps? What is “driving” this acquisition?
A search of the U.S. Patent Office reveals that HERE has 43 recently issued patents and 49 pending, published patent applications. Many of these patent applications are directed to “map features,” but several of them are directed to self-driving cars.
Part of the likely motivation of the automakers was to keep the patents out of the hands of rivals. Reuters reported that the CEO of Daimler said: “With the joint acquisition of HERE, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries.” In other words, the automakers didn’t want someone else to get patent rights that would place obstacles and added costs to bringing self-driving car technology to market.
This transaction illustrates the vital importance of intellectual property, like patents, in commercializing new technologies.
Considering that the potential return on IP investment can be exponential, every emerging company should have an IP strategy that falls in line with its overall business plan and budget. For example, an IP landscape study can help a company understand what companies have rights to different technologies in their industry. An IP audit can help a company understand what rights it has and what risks are present for potential infringement of the IP of others.
For further information on this topic, check out our recent LinkedIn article here.
This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney.
This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary.
The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites.
In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.