Through 2012 and into 2013, automotive companies have been looking both to protect their revenue streams and create new ones by using their intellectual property. Most car manufacturers have a large portfolio of trade marks, design registrations and patents. Often, the existence of these is sufficient to dissuade third parties from copying them, however, infringements do happen and, for example, in August 2012, BMW successfully took action against a company selling wheels that were replicas of BMW’s designs.
Within motorsport, companies are increasingly looking to create extra revenue from their intellectual property rights. As the rules within Formula 1 move towards encouraging fuel efficiency and alternative power, teams are licensing their technologies to other companies, both within and outside the automotive industries. For example, Williams F1′s hybrid power technology is to be used in trams from 2014, having already been used in some London buses. This kind of diversification was quoted as being one of the main factors in Williams F1′s 57% increase in turnover for the first six months of 2012.
With new rules coming in 2014 encouraging even greater fuel efficiency, far exceeding the levels achieved by current road cars, it is likely that motorsport teams will find even more opportunities to increase revenues outside of the motorsport industry itself by using their intellectual property