By on November 15, 2013

Renault Zoe

This is the Renault Zoe. It’s like most EVs on the road, with its limited range, limited power, and limited usability.

Unlike the other EVs, however, the Zoe comes with DRM attached to its battery pack. In short: If you value your ability to drive the Zoe at all, then you will submit to a rental contract with the pack’s manufacturer. Should you fail to pay the rent or your lease term expires, Renault can and will turn your Zoe into an expensive, useless paperweight by preventing the pack’s ability to be recharged, consequences be damned.

It’s only the beginning.

(Read More…)

By on December 1, 2012

A Detroit court found a former GM engineer and her husband guilty of conspiring to steal hybrid car trade secrets. Their lawyers unsuccessfully argued that there were no secrets to steal. Ed Niedermeyer had said that for years.

(Read More…)

By on July 27, 2012

A few months ago, Volkswagen extended its joint venture contract with Chinese partner FAW for another 25 years, with appropriate pomp and circumstance: Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel witnessed the signature. Now, Volkswagen takes the unusual step of going semi-public with the theft of intellectual property. According to reports in German media, FAW has “systematically and repeatedly” stolen designs of important components such as engines and transmissions. Volkswagen’s hands are tied. (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2011

Ronnie Schreiber reckoned that Chrysler would be able to protect its rights to the phrase “Imported From Detroit” in its lawsuit against local clothing firm MODA, but Automotive News [sub] reports that

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow ruled that Chrysler’s request didn’t show that it would suffer irreparable harm or that it had a strong likelihood of winning its case. That means Pure Detroit’s owner, Detroit retailer Moda Group LLC, can continue selling its “Imported from Detroit” products.

Tarnow also noted that Chrysler doesn’t have a trademark on “Imported from Detroit” and rejected the automaker’s argument that trademark law isn’t applicable to the case.

Interestingly, the last time Chrysler fought over its brand intellectual property (in a dispute with a Florida high school that had adopted the Ram’s Head logo as its school symbol), it won… only to stop using the the logo for Dodges when it spun off its Ram brand. In any case, this latest ruling may take Chrysler’s tagline out of its complete control, but it should also stimulate a strong market in knock-off goods bearing the line, ultimately increasing its exposure. And, at the end of the day, Chrysler needs to look past Detroit-boosting if it wants to get its marketing back on a nationally-appealing footing and win back sales on the coasts. This ruling may not be sucha bad thing after all….

By on December 16, 2010

We have covered the Governator wooing not-so-gloriously-doing BYD to come to California, well, at least with a headquarter building. We were also interested to hear that BYD “is in talks with officials in Los Angeles to supply all-electric battery buses in the city.”

The Wall Street Journal revisited old investigative reporting glory and did some thorough digging into the matter. And here is what transpired, all as per the WSJ: (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2010
And the winner is (left.)

China’s 11th Five-Year Plan (they still have one of those) encourages industrial design as one of the six key modern service sectors that will receive priority support from the central government.

One of these support measures was the creation of a government-sponsored patent award, which “ aims to boost the nation’s intellectual property strategy and accelerate creation of proprietary intellectual property,” as Gasgoo put it.

FAW’s Besturn B70 was the only design patent to win a gold medal at the 11th China Patent Awards in Beijing. There is just a small niggling problem: (Read More…)

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