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Patent lawsuits hit major auto companies

Many people enjoy connecting their mobile phones and other devices to the entertainment system in their vehicles through an onboard connector or, more frequently, a Bluetooth connection. However, Blitzsafe Texas has filed 15 lawsuits within four years claiming that major automobile manufacturers are infringing on its patents for technology that does exactly that. Blitzsafe Texas is headquartered in the town of Marshall, a community that is perhaps best-known as the location where one of the greatest numbers of patent infringement lawsuits are filed in the country. After the Supreme Court ruled that patent-infringement plaintiffs could not simply choose the venue where their cases are filed, some firms with many cases moved there, qualifying them to select that venue.

Blitzsafe claims that they have held patents for linking mobile devices to automobiles through wired connections since 2009 and Bluetooth connections since 2012. The patents being litigated relate to technology that allow drivers to receive hands-free calls and play stored music over the car stereo systems. Blitzsafe filed two new similar lawsuits in November 2018, one accusing General Motors and the other accusing Fiat, Chrysler, and Maserati of infringing its patents with technologies that allow drivers to connect their phones to the vehicles’ infotainment systems. Chrysler, Ram, Jeep, Dodge, Fiat and other car brands use technology with the same purpose in their vehicles.

Blitzsafe is accusing the companies of knowingly infringing on its patents due to the company’s history of notable lawsuits against other large automaker brands that manufacture infotainment systems for automobiles. It has settled most of those cases out of court, including previous complaints against large manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen and Subaru.

For companies that develop new technologies, patent infringement litigation may be essential to preserving their market while others may find buying up patents to pursue litigation more lucrative. Contact Wang IP Law Group for advice on how companies can protect their rights and manage potential patent litigation.