Self-Driving Vehicles Patents at the EPO

15 June 2020

There seems to be little to stop the development of the Self-driving Vehicles (SDV) sector. Companies with huge financial resources that have already invested billions show little inclination in ending their gambit. Cities globally are cooperating with the private sectors on trials.  Few appear to seriously doubt that the dream of SDV will be realized.

Today’s debate appears to be more focussed on the level of self-driving and when self-driving vehicles will become mainstream. In fact, there are enough examples already to suggest that we are already nudging at the edges of “mainstream”. You could credibly argue that “when?” is “now”.

One example is the use of autonomous vehicles in China during the Covid-19 crisis to deliver medical supplies in hard-hit areas. Granted that while those vehicles might not represent the average consumer’s self-driving vehicle expectations or definitions, they helped save lives.

Here at ipQuants we therefore decided to take a deeper look at the SDV tech space. The main purpose of our study was:  

  • Explore which European country has the highest patent intensity for SDV patents. 
  • Compare EPO patent filing and opposition activity regarding SDV patents to other technology sectors.
  • Analyse patent activity in Switzerland, Austria and Germany to understand the location and robustness of SDV innovation hubs in those countries.

You can access the full SDV study here or start by taking an initial look at the key findings here.