Quarles & Brady's Autonomous & Connected Vehicles Group counsels clients on the potential business impact of self-driving vehicles in the automotive industry and beyond. Our clients include vehicle, engine and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, dealers and distributors, and autonomous and V2V technology companies.
Clients rely on our experience in addressing issues posed by the emergence of self-driven cars from regulatory compliance, risk counseling and litigation to intellectual property protection, licensing, privacy, and data security concerns. Having served the automotive industry for decades, we are uniquely qualified to serve the complex legal needs of clients in this emerging industry.
The technology of self-driving vehicles touches upon many legal and business areas. We are here to help with proactive advice and practical answers in several areas:
- Regulatory Compliance (NHTSA): Government regulation of autonomous vehicles is a complex web of state and federal laws and voluntary standards that change seemingly every day as the technology evolves. To stay ahead of the curve, we actively monitor legislative developments and provide our clients with the latest information and proposed regulations so that together we can anticipate and maintain compliance with the current rules and regulations.
- Distribution and Franchise: As auto manufacturers expand partnerships with technology conglomerates, new and more complex challenges threaten to disrupt the automotive franchise industry. Our team works with automobile manufacturers addressing issues of IP protection and vehicle ownership, fleet ownership, distribution and leasing of autonomous vehicles, and warranty.
- Data Privacy and the Internet of Things (IoT): While advances in the connectedness of self-driving vehicles improve the vehicles' safety, the collection of that data can pose a concern for consumer cybersecurity. Clients rest easy knowing that the Quarles & Brady Data Privacy & Security Team regularly handles compliance and risk counseling, transactional assistance, and government investigations and litigation, as well as data breach preparation and response.
- Insurance: Experts in autonomous technology expect a decrease in accidents as self-driving vehicles become more available, but the severity of accidents is expected to increase. While personal auto insurance policies will still exist, insurance companies are creating new policies for various components of vehicles. Our insurance recovery team has spent decades representing policyholders and insureds with respect to insurance coverage issues, claims analysis, policy review and negotiation, insurer insolvency issues, advice to boards of directors on insurance and corporate governance issues, and risk management.
- Intellectual Property and Joint Development Agreements: Autonomous industry growth lies in products and partnerships among manufactures and technology entities. We understand that protecting intellectual property is crucial for our clients to stay competitive. Our team's technical knowledge and experience with the manufacturing technologies and materials central to these innovations allows provide us to provide strategic advice through all phases of product development. On the transactional side, we assist clients ranging from startups to global conglomerates, working to protect and uphold their technology through licensing and joint development agreements.
- Product Liability and Safety Standards: Our product liability attorneys work almost exclusively with automotive and motorcycle manufacturers and distributors, and have acquired deep knowledge of the risks associated with the auto industry. Preventing risk is equally important. To maximize consumer safety, our attorneys also assist in developing product literature warnings and safety standards, requiring intimate knowledge of the technology's capabilities.
- Supply Chain Requirements: Our supply chain and commercial agreements attorneys work extensively with our clients in all levels of the supply chain. Our team understands the unique and interesting challenges associated with contracting for vehicle components incorporating autonomous features. Aside from the cybersecurity issues, our team understands the additional risks associated with more interconnected systems and development collaborations and the need for new approaches to solve the historic “all or nothing” approach of certain OEMs.