A patent infringement lawsuit was filed against Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. by a company that had been involved in a drawn-out legal fight with Toyota Motor Corp. over hybrid-engine technology. The suit was filed in federal court in Baltimore last Thursday, complaining of the infringement of three patents by Hyundai's Sonata Hybrid and the Kia Optima Hybrid.
The plaintiffs are closely held Paice LLC and Baltimore's Abell Foundation, a non-profit company that has an investment in Paice.
According to the lawsuit, Hyundai and Kia knew about the patent litigation with Toyota, which lasted eight years and had ended with a 2010 settlement. The affiliated companies, Hyundai and Kia, use the same powertrain technology. Paice said that as early as 2004, Paice had called Hyundai many times and had asked for the opportunity to talk about its patented hybrid technology.
Paice is going after cash compensation as well as an order to ban the continued use of the technology without acquiring permission. The founder of Paice is Alex Severinsky, a Soviet emigrant who started his career with work on antitank-warfare instrumentation.
He developed a high-voltage method in the 1990s to power gas- electric vehicles that he claims to be the basis for modern hybrid technology. Ford Motor Co., which produces the Fusion hybrid car, has entered a deal to license Paice's technology for the resolution of the lawsuits.