Report Reveals Surprise Patent Champ for Hybrid Cars

January 25th, 2011 by Eric Lane Leave a reply »

Last month the Griffith Hack law firm and patent analytics firm Ambercite published a joint report on hybrid car patents. 

The report analyzed 58,000 hybrid car patents and their interrelationships using Ambercite’s network patent analysis (NPA) methodology.  NPA uses citation linkages between patents to make determinations about the relative importance of the patents. 

The theory is that patents having the strongest relationships to other patents based on the number, strength and direction of citations represent the most important innovations.

Quite unexpectedly, the NPA method indicated that it was not a major automaker like Toyota or Honda that owned the strongest hybrid car patents, but was instead the hybrid drive train technology licensing company Paice

According to the report, Paice held the first, second, fourth and seventh strongest patents, namely, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,209,672, 5,343,970 (’970 Patent), 6,338,391, and 6,554,088.

Arguably, this result confirms the importance of the ’970 Patent as established by the 2007 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirming Toyota’s infringement of the patent

Indeed, the report expressly raises the intriguing possibility that the relationships revealed by NPA could predict instances of patent infringement.

The report can be downloaded here via the Griffith Hack web site.

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