There is a revolution underway in the auto industry, and DLA Piper’s Automated, Connected and Electric Car group provides its clients with the multidisciplinary legal services necessary to take full advantage of the promise and potential of the coming transportation transformation. Spurred by technological innovation, the automotive industry is undertaking dramatic changes, including development and deployment of self-driving, electric and connected vehicles. These unprecedented simultaneous changes will affect much of the surface transportation industry, from vehicle manufacturers and equipment suppliers, to high-technology companies, to passenger and freight transportation services, to auto battery development, manufacture, use and disposal. New vehicles, services and business models will also catalyze change and opportunities in a broad swath of other industries and sectors, including technology hardware and software developers, manufacturers and suppliers; auto and property and casualty insurance; real estate and land use; electric power generation and charging infrastructure; telecommunications and banks.

Skilled and experienced legal assistance is essential to the success of businesses participating in this new environment. Wider deployment and use of automated, connected and electric vehicles will increasingly raise novel legal issues and challenges to be addressed by companies that make, sell and use such vehicles and technology. Governments around the world are considering new laws and regulations to address vehicles, functions and services not addressed by existing regulation. Businesses developing, manufacturing, selling or using new vehicle technologies will be required to address both existing legal and regulatory barriers and new and evolving laws and regulations in order to manage legal risks and take advantage of new opportunities. Our Automated, Connected and Electric Car group is well equipped to assist businesses in anticipating, understanding and meeting those legal challenges and to help them to thrive in new and uncertain legal environments.

DLA Piper’s global Automated, Connected and Electric Car group advises clients on the full range of business legal issues arising in connection with innovative vehicles. The group is an interdisciplinary, integrated global team that combines knowledge and experience from many practices, including federal and state vehicle and transportation regulation; intellectual property protection, licensing and litigation; data protection and privacy; energy projects and regulation; product liability; environmental regulation and litigation; technology transactions; and tax. Other DLA Piper practice groups provide coordinated and complementary services in areas that will be affected by the ongoing automotive technology and mobility revolution, including real estate and land use, insurance, finance, mergers and acquisitions, and other transactions.

In addition to helping businesses understand and navigate evolving laws and regulations, members of the group work with clients, Congress and regulators to help develop and foster a regulatory environment that facilitates innovation and progress in automated, connected and electric vehicle markets. The group includes the former chief counsel of NHTSA, the primary US automobile regulator; a former chief counsel and policy director for the automated and connected vehicles and ride-sharing subsidiaries of a major automaker; former members of Congress; and the former chief of staff of the US Department of Transportation. 

Key areas

We provide broad legal services covering the connected, automated, electric and self-driving car legal and regulatory ecosystems, including (in alphabetical order):

  • Contract
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data protection and privacy
  • E-commerce and digital transactions
  • Electric vehicles and charging infrastructure
  • Environmental (including fuel economy and emissions)
  • Insurance
  • Liability
  • Litigation and appeals
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Patent analysis, prosecution, and litigation
  • Public-private partnerships
  • R&D financing and investment
  • Regulation of self-driving, connected and electric vehicles and their operations, including regulatory development, strategies, compliance and enforcement
  • Tax
  • Trademark, copyright and trade secrets
  • Vehicle-to-everything and smart city infrastructure

Recent experience

  • An Internet of Things software platform developer in a number of international tax projects
  • A European automotive company on the applicable US privacy and cybersecurity legal framework, including developing industry and governmental guidance and US-compliant privacy notices and consent processes, as well as a privacy review of connected services and related data flows
  • A global management consulting firm on legal aspects of connected cars
  • A provider of mapping and location data and related services on various legal issues, including a corporate joint venture, merger control and licensing matters
  • An autonomous driving systems start-up in connection with a proposed acquisition and investment by a major OEM and major equipment manufacturer
  • An AV developer and manufacturer regarding regulatory strategy and various legal issues attendant to deployment planning and implementation
  • The American operations of an international autonomous driving systems manufacturer, with respect to federal and state regulatory requirements and compliance
  • A self-driving bus company in connection with contract and liability matters.
  • An American auto manufacturer on data mapping all business processes from a data acquisition, use, sharing and storage POV associated with connected car
  • A home and kitchen appliance company on risks of using OSS in connected cars
  • A European automotive company, analyzing and assessing its proposed use cases for vehicle sensor, driver behavior and other related data, as well as aggregation of such data with third-party data and other company data sources and disclosure of the data to service providers and third parties
  • A British multinational telecommunications company regarding a connected car service it was providing to a German auto manufacturer in the UAE
  • A provider of traffic and mobility analytics with its strategic partnerships, customer contracts, inbound licenses and other needs
  • An American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, markets and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts on connected car legislative initiatives
  • A leading provider of information and communication technology, assisting in digital industry initiatives
  • The corporate VC arm of a Japanese vehicle manufacturer with certain strategic partnerships and various licensing and commercial transactions involving its existing portfolio companies and potential investment targets
  • A US automotive company, conducting data mapping of its connected car platform, services and systems, including vendor and third-party systems and services.  As part of the project, provided legal advice on privacy and security controls, a gap assessment, and data control and management strategies
  • A self-driving engineering team dedicated to self-driving technologies in leasing and purchase of sites and global tax structuring
  • The Chinese affiliate of a Big Three automaker, leading a US compliance assessment
  • A global automotive supplier, providing patent analysis
  • A Japanese automotive components manufacturer, providing patent analysis
  • An app-based gas delivery service, preparing online terms
  • A provider of mobile entertainment storage products in connection with its development of an embedded solution for US vehicle manufacturers
  • A provider of software for analyzing driving data in connection with its collaboration with a provider of data analytics to auto insurance companies
  • An American startup technology company that develops intelligent electric vehicles, in tax matters
  • A prominent American company that specializes in electric vehicles, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing, in tax matters
  • An American shared electric vehicle company in trademark infringement matters
  • A developer of a mobile-based connected car platform, in its acquisition by a research and development subsidiary of a Japanese public multinational conglomerate corporation
  • A British multinational defense, security, and aerospace company in its acquisition of a developer and manufacturer of unmanned maritime and aerial vehicles