FRANCE: Heuliez to sell over 750 patents on hard top convertible design
Heuliez will divest more than 750 patents relating to hard top convertible design as the company shifts away from the automotive market in order to focus on other business. Heuliez has selected Hilco Streambank to conduct the sale process.
Heuliez hard top convertible systems have achieved commercial success with both the Peugeot 207 cc and Opel Tigra Twin Top. Additionally, the Heuliez patent portfolio is currently licensed to several other suppliers and manufacturers, who are currently using these technologies in their vehicles.
In addition to selling the patents, Heuliez has agreed to provide the buyer with significant technical support, including a transfer of knowledge relating to the design process, prototype development and supplier selection. "Combining the patent portfolio with knowledge transfer enables any potential buyer to launch new products and gain market share in the growing hard top convertible market almost immediately", said Gabe Fried, CEO of Hilco Streambank.
It is estimated that half of all convertibles sold have hard tops. Currently, these vehicles are available from numerous European, Japanese and US manufacturers starting at US$25,000. Hard top convertibles appeal to consumers because they offer security, safety and integrity while allowing the occupants to enjoy the benefits of a top-down ride. Manufacturers have embraced the hardtop convertible because it broadens the product mix, provides more price points per platform and demonstrates technological prowess.
"Any significant automotive brand will want to have at least one hardtop convertible vehicle in their fleet in the coming years", comments Fried. He added, "The design and engineering developed by Heuliez is cutting-edge, as demonstrated in the prototype Macarena Peugeot 407, which shows that even a conservative, full-size sedan can be elegantly transformed into a fun-loving convertible".