Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 6:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
#4616 of 24723 Intellectual property 101
Apr 05, 2004 (9:28 am)
If you don't think that the entire auto industry, just like high tech, food processing, pharmaceuticals and just about every manufacturing company that does business in this country doesn't 'look' at intellectual property held by others and try to insure that theirs is protected, then you have missed a key piece of how business works.
Virtually all 'big' businesses also cross-license IP with each other. It's the smart thing to do, because you don't get caught with your shorts down. Their internal legal shops have IP lawyers and the companies sit down with each other every year at about this time to 'settle' on who's patents are in use and negotiate their relative value. You can bet that Toyota, Honda, DaimlerBenz, VW, BMW, GM, Ford, Nissan, etc. are all cross licensed.
For example, Texas Instruments used to pay Bell Labs a significant net royalty on their patent portfolio because of Bell's fundamental transistor patents. However, when those expired and TI later gained key patents in the microchip area, the money flowed the other way.
In general, all patents issued before 1987 have expired (the old 17 year rule). Starting with patents filed in 1995, 20 years is generally the life of the patent.
Also, the larger and more current your intellectual property portfolio, the better your protection, the stronger your internal focus on developing and protecting innovation and the more likely the money flows your way.
IBM was awarded 3,215 patents last year and has 23,000 they actively license. The generally are the largest recipient of patents each year in the world.
Companies that develop proprietary technology and deploy it in production and sell it to others without patent protection, put the technology in the public domain. Anyone could use it.
For example, if there was something unique and innovative about a 7-speed transmission then DCX would patent it, because selling it without protection would allow anyone to 'copy' it freely. DCX hasn't filed any patents on the 7 speed transmission because it's just incremental technology. DCX has filed a few CVT patents in 2001 - 2004, so maybe they've figured out that when the number of speeds in a transmission approaches infinity that it becomes continuous, sort of like a polygon with an infinite number of sides is called a circle.
Apr 05, 2004 (9:56 am)
Actually I'm quite familiar with patents as I've invested into one with a family members. Great idea (the patent), but wrong people to do business with (family), but that is a whole other story. Amazingly I don't really disagree with any of that, but maybe I should have just answered your original question in the first place.
No, Mercedes doesn't have to get any licensing permission from Toyota for their upcomming DOHC engine designs, and no Toyota wasn't first at this, and yes Mercedes has done a many DOHC engines before.
The fact that Toyota has so many patents for smaller details only goes back to highlight what I said before in answer to your implication that the LS400 was first with this engine design, Toyota only improves up existing tech, most of the time and they don't hold anything currently that MB would need to consult them on because A) Toyota wasn't first to begin with and B) the details that they had a patent on has expired, and MB or anyone else needs to consult them this particular engine design. Every automaker under the sun uses DOHC technology.
If you can honestly tell me what was "best" about Toyota's 1989 DOHC V8 design compared to Mercedes' of the same year, then you'd have something to stand on here, otherwise you're just posting for the sake of doing so with nothing factual to bring to the table. Do you even know what those 43 patents are and what they mean or are you just arguing pointlessly again?
#4618 of 24723 How do you know?
Apr 05, 2004 (10:07 am)
It's fun to say stuff like that, and I am sure your feelings are heartfelt.
I would guess that neither of us have any factual information regarding the patent details of the DOHC engine that MB is introducing.
To say otherwise, you'd have to be member of their technical staff or IP law department.
In fact, since I believe that since Toyota and virtually everybody else in the industry is cross-licensed, Mercedes would be crazy not to use what Toyota made available to them through licensing if it were more quickly available than internal development and the same would be true about Toyota using MB technology.
Apr 05, 2004 (10:11 am)
But you're missing the point they've done DOHC engines before, back in 1989 the same time Toyota did, DOHC ENGINES ARE NOT NEW FOR MERCEDES-BENZ. There was also a DOHC engine 190E during the eighties. This is not new technology for MB!!!
#4620 of 24723 best vs first
Apr 05, 2004 (10:14 am)
I think what Michael Mattox means is that doing something best is more important than doing it first, a sentiment I agree with. Some data on MY2004 engines:
BMW 4.4 liter: 325 hp, 330 lb-ft
Lexus 4.3: 290/320
MB 4.3: 275/295
So based on what is currently shipping, at least, BMW has done the "best" of the three with engines, MB "worst".
Apr 05, 2004 (10:18 am)
First I didn't argue anything...I just said WOW to another poster because I thought the sheer numbers were impressive.
Argue, as you will, over the years the Lexus has proven to be more reliable then the Mercedes. Maybe all those patents had something to do with it and maybe not...I don't know, and frankly don't care because I believe BEST trumps FIRST.
Apr 05, 2004 (10:24 am)
Ok the point has been officially lost here. I wasn't saying that MB was the "best" here because they were first, only that they used DOHC technology either before or at the same time as Lexus did, when talking about V8s. Nothing more. I never at any point said that MB was best, if I did please point this out to me because I don't see it written or remember posting it here. 2004 cars were not part of the discussion. Of course BMW's new V8 is superior in the here and now, look at the details on that thing. Naturally the details don't matter when they're lost on you, and it all reverts back to reliability.
I have finally realized that on this board it is pointless to talk about anything else but reliability, it is the end-all of the automobile. Even a simply debate about engine design back in the day reverts to an updated reliability sermon.
Apr 05, 2004 (11:57 am)
Since we are talking about reliability, I am old enough to remember the Mercedes SEL which I believe was the predecessor of the S class. That car was built like a tank. In fact, I know someone who owns a 1987 560 SEL that he still drives regularly. I have been a passenger in that car quite a few times and it still drives like a new car (it has about 168K on the odometer). Don't know if it was SOHC or DOHC.
Apr 05, 2004 (12:14 pm)
That 560SEL would be a 5.5L SOHC 2-valve/cylinder V8.
And "built like a tank" doesn't necessarily mean it is/was reliable.