Hybrid Patent Lawsuit Settled Between Hyundai/Kia and Paice

Hybrid technology patent holder Paice and the affiliated Abell Foundation have settled an infringement suit with Hyundai and Kia over technology used in their hybrid Sonata and Optima.

After an eight-day jury trial in October, Maryland-based Paice said its suit filed in 2012 over 2011 model year cars was ruled in its favor and it was awarded $28,915,600.

In turn it has agreed Hyundai and Kia now are legal license holders of critical patents utilized in their hybrid cars.

Paice, which has defended its patents in court before against Toyota and Ford, said it has another case outstanding against Ford filed in 2014.

“That lawsuit has been stayed pending the resolution of inter partes review proceedings before the U.S. Patent Office,” said Paice in a statement.

The patents in question are the fruit of a company founded by former U.S.S.R. émigré Alex Severinsky. As a prolific inventor, he worked first to develop gas-electric powertrains after being made to wait in long gas lines in the late 70s during a second oil shortage not long after arriving in the U.S.

Since then, Paice has become a potent, if behind the scenes concern.

“An independent analysis of 58,000 hybrid vehicle patents found that Paice owns the most dominant hybrid vehicle patent in the world due to its fundamental importance in the development of hybrid vehicles,” said Paice. “The study also found that Paice owns four of the Top 10 most influential hybrid vehicle patents in the world – more than Toyota, Ford and Honda combined.”

In the case settled with its newest forced licensees, Hyundai and Kia, the company put a positive spin on the settlement.

“We are gratified to reach a licensing agreement with Hyundai and Kia, who are among the undisputed leaders in the hybrid industry. This agreement further validates the importance of our technology, and we hope to reach additional agreements with other major automakers,” said Frances Keenan, chairman of the Paice Board of Directors.

All litigation is now settled with the confidential licensing agreement, said Paice.