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Automotive

Automotive Global Services

The auto supply chain is global, and we’re everywhere our clients need us.

Our team works with clients in a wide range of cross-border legal matters. No two cultures are alike, and our team includes native speakers of the languages where many of our clients work and operate, as well as an extensive network of foreign attorneys who work closely with us in the auto sector. By understanding vast differences in cultures, language and legal systems, we can quickly and effectively help clients resolve supply chain issues, create enforceable rights and duties and deal with complex global business matters.

We work as part of a client’s team to mitigate risks and maximize profitable growth and market expansion. Whether it’s importing or exporting goods, our international trade and customs team provides strategic planning to help minimize duties, fines and risks.

Area of Focus Contact

  • Joseph J. Dehner

    Member

    Cincinnati, OH

Foreign Desks

While we assist clients virtually anywhere in the world their products are made and sold, we offer specialized services in the following regions through Frost Brown Todd's Foreign Desks: 

China Desk

Whether Chinese or other Asian companies are looking to expand operations into the U.S., create R&D centers, acquire companies here or recruit auto operations to China, our team can assist in all aspects of auto-related law. Our seasoned international attorneys have been doing business and traveling to China regularly for more than 20 years, and our lead attorney has worked as inside and outside counsel for a tech company in China.

We have personally met with dozens of Chinese OEMs and suppliers, as well as the Chinese Association of Auto Manufacturers, to develop a keen understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities for Chinese auto manufacturers and suppliers. This deep understanding of the cultural and legal differences allows us to quickly anticipate needs and guide Chinese clients through the complex U.S. legal landscape. From the way deals are negotiated to vastly different labor laws, our team’s experience ensures nothing gets lost in translation.

Representative Matters

  • Our attorneys negotiated the largest of the time U.S.-to-China technology outsourcing deal with a total contract value of $270 million.
  • Our team negotiated a U.S., Swiss and China technology outsourcing deal, which won the Forbes Magazine / Everest Group Outsourcing Excellence Award for Europe.
  • We represent a Chinese software development company in the negotiation of international licensing and distribution agreements related to connected car technology.
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Japan Desk

Japan and the U.S. are not just thousands of miles apart physically, but also in how they conduct business — from the way contracts are negotiated to how the discovery process works.

Our team has a wealth of knowledge representing Japanese clients and includes a native-level Japanese-speaking attorney who has spent nearly two decades living and working in Japan. He most recently worked as Senior Counsel for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation in Nagoya and in private practice at a law firm in Japan. This in-depth understanding of the culture and customs of Japanese businesses, combined with decades of auto industry experience allows us to seamlessly act as outside GC for Japanese clients. We currently represent dozens of Japanese auto clients, ranging from small suppliers to large OEMs.

With a footprint in the heart of Auto Alley, we provide responsive service and solid connections in the locations where our clients want to set up facilities. We can act as full-service counsel on every aspect of auto-related legal work, and even remain a single point of contact to help guide clients through dealings with Mexico, Canada and other nations through our Multilaw network.

Representative Matters 

  • Counsel to a large Japanese automotive manufacturer on several supplier risk management matters and large corporate projects.
  • Lead counsel to a large Japanese automotive manufacturer and other U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese companies on Mexico expansion issues.
  • Lead counsel to a large Japanese corporation and U.S. subsidiary for its patent portfolio management and patent prosecution.
  • Counsel to a U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese automotive supplier in its successful resolution of the Department of Justice’s investigation regarding criminal price fixing allegations.
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India Desk

India’s auto sector has its own set of challenges and opportunities, coupled with those of the broader industry. Our team understands the complexities involved with auto operations all over the region. If a supplier is in distress and production is threatened, we have law firms in India  at the ready to help ensure minimal disruption to our clients’ operations. As the auto supply chain continues to become more global, we work in close partnership with Multilaw and other law firms to ensure seamless collaboration to address cross-border needs. Importing or exporting, our counsel can boost your bottom line.

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German Desk

Germany plays an integral role in the automotive industry, and our team is passionate about helping auto companies from Germany and other European countries succeed in the U.S. market. The co-chair of our auto supplier group,  Kai Bitter, is a German-speaking attorney who has advised companies in the auto industry both in the U.S. and Germany.

Our deep experience with Tier 1 and 2 suppliers and equity investors throughout Germany and other European countries helps us anticipate client needs and navigate the U.S. legal system in ways that mitigate potential issues. How deals are structured, how customer expectations differ, what to expect when facing litigation — there are many differences that go beyond language, and each could have a great business impact.

We have served as lead U.S. counsel for a range of German suppliers who manufacture automotive parts such as wires, sensors and safety technology, to entire paint shops, automation solutions and much more. In addition to advising automotive suppliers, our lead attorney works on bringing the German apprenticeship model for shop floor workers to mid-America so that our manufacturers can close the skills gap that is a major concern for many small and large manufacturers in this industry.

Representative Matters 

  • Assisted several German suppliers (or their U.S. subsidiaries) in their negotiations of supply relationships with OEMs of electric vehicles.
  • Advised a German supplier of surface finishing technology systems on several large-scale OEM projects.
  • Advised German-owned equipment maker on the formation of a U.S.-based joint venture focused on hot stamping.
  • Advised German-owned supplier of automotive safety technologies on litigation with former distributor for the U.S. market.
  • Advised German-owned tier 1 on purchase and development of site for new factory.
  • Developed compliance program for German equipment maker for contracting with subcontractors and secondment of German employees for U.S. based projects.
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