Honigman Launches Autonomous Vehicle Industry Group

Michigan-based law firm at forefront of transportation industry revolution
Press Release

Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP is announcing the formation of an Autonomous Vehicle industry group, which includes a cross-disciplinary team of attorneys practicing in the firm’s Corporate, Intellectual Property and Litigation departments.

Honigman hired top Federal Trade Commission attorney Steve Wernikoff, who will co-lead the group along with Honigman partner Tom Appledorn. Wernikoff served as the FTC’s Enforcement Director in the Office of Technology Research and Investigation, and brings 17 years of experience in mobile and emerging technologies, privacy, data security, advertising and marketing, connected devices and big data matters.

“Honigman is leading the charge to help clients with guidance and strategies for the complex legal, business, IP and regulatory requirements related to autonomous vehicle technologies,” said Wernikoff. “We can help clients navigate the broad spectrum of issues and potential pitfalls throughout their product development and commercialization strategies.”

Honigman is responding to a growing need for practical guidance as new laws and best practices are adopted by this emergent industry. Traditional automotive OEMs, suppliers and strategic investment entities are making significant investments in the autonomous space. As the industry faces inconsistent and conflicting regulatory requirements, Honigman is well-placed to be at the forefront of this technological revolution.

“The establishment of an Autonomous Vehicle industry group made perfect sense for us given our tremendous experience working with clients in the automotive, technology, regulatory, manufacturing and privacy/data sectors,” said David Foltyn, Chairman and CEO of Honigman. “Not only will this formalize the growing capabilities of attorneys who are practicing in this area, it also solidifies an important milestone in the firm’s strategic growth initiative.”

The industry group focuses on advising clients on the development, procurement, investment, patenting, use and licensing of these new technologies. Additionally, Honigman lawyers advise on related activities, such as the creation and development of autonomous vehicle research, development and testing facilities. The firm already has deep experience in the traditional automotive industry, as well as significant knowledge of the technologies used for autonomous vehicles, and the data privacy and cybersecurity concerns that commonly arise. For example, Honigman has: 

  • worked on the creation of a research, development and testing facility of autonomous vehicles and related public infrastructure;
  • worked with global high technology companies, automakers and suppliers on various projects involving the development and supply of products for autonomous features on vehicles;
  • worked with investors on conducting diligence on various related technologies;
  • prosecuted patents for autonomous vehicle technology as well as conducted freedom to operate and other analyses on such technologies; and
  • defended clients involved with autonomous vehicle-related technology in patent infringement litigation.

Honigman’s Autonomous Vehicle industry group includes several attorneys with a combination of work experience, graduate and undergraduate degrees in the sciences or engineering. The team also includes attorneys that are Certified Information Privacy Professionals (CIPP/US), a gold standard certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

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