With all the news coming out recently about the small claims lawsuit over the Honda Civic Hybrid, readers may have forgotten the name behind a long-running legal issue over Toyota's hybrid system: Paice. The latest development is that Paice and the Abell Foundation (an investor in Paice) have sued Hyundai and Kia over the gas-electric technology used in the Optima and Sonata hybrids (pictured), which shares some parts with Paice says infringes its patents, just as it says Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive does. Read up on the details of Alex Severinsky's story here.

Paice claims that Hyundai and Kia should have known that Toyota was dealing with legal issues – especially since Paice has been contacting Hyundai about the issue – and says that the Korean automakers are infringing three patents that Paice owns. Toyota and Paice settled their long-looming hybrid patent infringement case in 2010 after eight years, during which time the courts routinely rejected Toyota's request to dismiss the case. Toyota paid royalties to Paice for the Prius, Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX400h models it sold.


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  • 14 Comments
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now somebody should drag Hyundia into court for building such eyesores.
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      I predict people sueing Hyundai over mileage claims. "I wish I had better news for Hyundai, but its Sonata Hybrid, EPA-estimated to return 35 city/40 highway, mustered a disappointing 27.0 mpg observed, almost 10 mpg less than its hybrid foe from Toyota. What gives? "Both the gas engine and electric motor really need to be wrung out to even keep up with the Camry and Passat," judged Kong. "The poor electric motor, which serves as the six-speed auto's torque converter, is overworked, and, as a consequence, the car really struggles under high-load conditions and overall integration is not smooth. If the electric motor were more powerful (it's outpaced by the Camry Hybrid's primary tractive motor by 101 hp), it might help." Not only did the Sonata's fuel economy suffer, so did its track performance, trailing the Camry to 60 by a monstrous 2.3 seconds--and Hyundai claims 6 horsepower more than Toyota with similar weight-to-power. Hyundai also touts its use of a conventional automatic and lighter lithium-polymer batteries, both of which are supposed to work better than their CVT and nickel-metal hydride/lithium-ion counterparts. But the net results say the opposite. Making things worse, we rated the Sonata's steering too rubbery, the brakes too grabby, and the throttle too jerky." Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1112_2011_hyundai_sonata_hybrid_vs_2012_toyota_camry_hybrid_vs_2012_volkswagen_passat_tdi_comparison/viewall.html#ixzz1n7WVB1xV
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      go get em Paice. they deserve it for not going direct to battery drive
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think this is one of the main reasons Honda has refused to use a similar technology. Avoiding the patent fights.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd say we could use patent reform right about now. No company consisting of mostly lawyers should be able to write all sorts of crazy patents with no intention to produce anything and use that a a weapon against everyone who's trying to actually make something... Maybe one day when lawyers, banks, and big corps don't own our government... wishful thinking, right?
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I'd give you a million +1's on this if the site would let me. These bottom feeding pond scum produce nothing, have no intention of producing anything and do nothing but live off other people's work. And they hide behind the patent system and screw up any chance of the system working for people who really need it to protect themselves.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I'd give you a million +1's on this if the site would let me. These bottom feeding pond scum produce nothing, have no intention of producing anything and do nothing but live off other people's work. And they hide behind the patent system and screw up any chance of the system working for people who really need it to protect themselves.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not excited to have a patent war break-out. But at least this shows how important hybrid technology now is in the modern auto marketplace. I think any car company that does not have a good hybrid road-map going forward is going to find themselves in a world of hurt in the coming years.
        marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        @Spec Very true.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        because the others are storming ahead? yeah right. by keeping EV priced at 35+k$ and ugly and slow, it's pretty much assured that nothing real happens. they are way too comfortable with stagnation and it is happening. there is nothing even on the horizon that will make a real difference. at this rate we are talking decades for a transition. when is someone going to do it right already. why am I the only one in the world who can see.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          The Mitsubishi-i is $29,125. If it was as easy as you think it is to build a crash-tested long-lasting electric vehicle that meets all of the warranty requirements for a low price but still has a profit, then someone would be doing it. It is just not easy to do and there is no grand conspiracy stopping anyone. It is just the laws of economics slowing them down.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          As a representative for mean spirited, greedy heartless, money grubbing, evil right wingers, I would certainly love to be on the ground floor of electrics when the IBM, Toyota solid state, or other battery breakthrough comes around. I would not hold back, but would charge as much as the market would take, maximizing profit to my evil corporation. And here is why it would be cool... Since I am greedy, I would make a pile of money. I would not follow Apple's method (keep everything proprietary, but would sell licensing fees to all automakers, thus making me an additional pile of money. I would then create a foundation like Bill Gates did, and give money to the UN. By licensing the technology, and paying off the right people, I would get good press, and avoid anti-trust lawsuits. All of Bill Gates problems stopped once he started paying people off. I would then help to upgrade a few power plants that were dirty, powering my cars. By doing this, I would make friends with the left, and the media, so they would talk well of me, and ignore my faults, like Steve Jobs (and his factories with nets to catch suicide jumpers and put them back to work). I would also invest in the other automakers, who were using my technology. That way, I would make an additional pile of money by my own competitions success. And, as minor ancillary results, the world would be cleaner, stopped global warming, blah blah blah. See? No reason for even evil people to hold back on this stuff. It's all good. It will happen when it's ready to happen.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd say we could use patent reform right about now. No company consisting of mostly lawyers should be able to write all sorts of crazy patents with no intention to produce anything and use that a a weapon against everyone who's trying to actually make something... Maybe one day when lawyers, banks, and big corps don't own our government... wishful thinking, right?
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now somebody should drag Hyundia into court for building such eyesores.
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