Industry executives expect to see more strategic tie-ups among automakers and suppliers over the next 12 months, but they’re worried about the additional challenges that may result as they seek to protect their company’s intellectual property.

In a survey of about 100 industry executives and other insiders from automakers and suppliers worldwide conducted by U.S.-based law firm Dykema, nearly 41% say they expect additional collaboration from automaker to automaker, supplier to supplier and automaker to supplier in the coming year.

Most (35.5%) see those tie-ups forming between suppliers, but 18% expect OE-to-OE collaboration and 21% foresee new OE-to-supplier strategic partnerships forming.

The biggest drivers in the partnership movement are the desire to expand into foreign markets (32%) and fund technological advancement.

But all that collaboration could make companies vulnerable when it comes to protecting their property rights. Dykema says 74% of respondents said their companies do not employ a chief privacy officer or other senior manager with “privacy” in his job title.

Nearly half say their company has been involved with IP litigation in the past year. Data privacy concerns remain the top concern of executives polled.

In other findings in the survey, automakers ranked China No.1 when it comes to compliance risk, citing a Wild West business environment driven by the rapidly expanding market, unique customs and practices in the country and lack of control over the regulatory environment as chief factors. Russia was a distant No.2 in the ranking.