Designing (and patenting) technology can, if you get it right, be the road to riches. And that certainly seems to be the case for Paice LLC, which owns patents for petrol electric hybrid propulsion it created in 1994.
Paice has already successfully sued Toyota – in an almost ten year court battle – over its 1994 designs, with Toyota ordered to compensate Paice with an undisclosed sum and to pay ongoing licensing costs for the hybrid technology to Paice. Ford has also reached a similar settlement with Paice.
Now it’s the turn of Hyundai and Kia to meet the Paice lawyers, as Paice seeks to extract compensation from the South Korean manufacturer for illegal use of its patents in the Kia Optima Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Paice claims they have been trying to discuss the infringement with the Koreans since 2004.
Paice LLC was founded twenty years ago by Alex Severinsky, a Russian whose background is in anti-tank warfare instrumentation. He patented a method of using high voltage to power petrol electric cars in 1994, and it is that patent which forms the basis for this action, and the same patent that Toyota compensated Paice for using without permission.
It seems likely Hyundai-Kia will ultimately capitulate to the demands of Paice and agree compensation, and ongoing licence fees, especially as the precedent is already set with Toyota (and Ford).
It looks like Alex Severinsky really did find the Golden Ticket in 1994 with his hybrid patent.