Faurecia’s assertive patent strategy makes innovation possible
At Faurecia’s 37 R&D sites around the world, 8,500 engineers are developing creative solutions to advance the Cockpit of the Future and Sustainable Mobility.
In order to support a dynamic culture of creativity and innovation, Faurecia’s patent specialists work directly with engineers to guide and refine their proposals and protect their work. A global patent portfolio of nearly 10,000 patents includes filings not just for entirely new products but for every improvement upon existing ones that advance a technical solution and can be produced on an industrial scale.
Decovent, Faurecia’s innovative ventilation system that radically alters the internal structure of the vent and expands the technological and aesthetic possibilities in the cockpit, is one such product that is supported by our patent strategy.
Usually approached as a purely functional product, ventilation systems and the air vents visible inside the car have changed little in recent decades. By integrating function and design, Faurecia engineers have made the visible aspects of the vent on the dashboard far sleeker and more discreet than their predecessors. A patent-protected internal structure also enables the entire vent to be slimmed down, reducing the size while ensuring the required level of performance to reach vehicle occupants’ preferred temperature.
The resulting product goes beyond an integration or aesthetic improvement, and instead transforms the entire look and feel of the dashboard. Precious space is freed up on the crowded instrument panel, making room for elements such as HMI controls and surfaces, decorative lighting, and displays, altering the user experience of these features as well. This transformation also allows for greater flexibility in design customization for different customers according to their style specifications and visions for different vehicles, and several carmakers have expressed interest in integrating Decovent into their vehicle interiors.
While it is only a single product, Decovent is protected by more than 30 patent families. Starting from the first filing at its inception, these cover every improvement large and small that advances a solution to an identifiable issue, as well as alterations based on customers’ design specifications. Hyundai has selected Faurecia’s Decovent for the G80, its new Genesis line, in a key contract for Faurecia’s Interiors activity. In March 2020, Faurecia began providing its solution for the Genesis G80, produced in South Korea and sold in Korea, the United States, Europe and China.
Because of Faurecia’s global R&D and industrial footprint, patent first filings are extended in offices around the world including France and the EU, the United States, China, and Japan, in a process that can take up to 18 months.
In order to provide customers with cutting-edge mobility solutions, Faurecia’s assertive patent strategy does not rest on copyrighting new inventions, but more broadly on cultivating a valuable intellectual property portfolio. This involves remaining ever vigilant against counterfeits and infringements, negotiating licensing agreements for production by other manufacturers, and ensuring that patents are filed as soon as an invention meets the criteria required to do so, securing Faurecia’s position as a leading innovator in the automotive sector.