NPE Activity in Automotive Zone

Table 1: Almost all litigation in the Automotive Sector is NPE based

# of Litigations by Filing PartyOperatingCompanyNPE (SmallCompany)NPE (PAE)NPE (Individual)2012201320142015050100150200
NPE (Individual)NPE (PAE)NPE (Small Company)Operating Company

The Automotive sector has seen an significant increase in litigation over the last several years.  Unified studied litigation against the largest Automotive OEMs and Suppliers from January 1, 2012 to June 12, 2015.  Almost all the growth can be attributed to NPEs.  88% of litigation was NPE based in 2014 and 94% in 2013.  Though no single factor can be discerned, the significant amount of PAE litigations demonstrates many NPEs believe the Automotive sector is a ripe place to purchase patents for the goal of assertion.

Table 2: Safety and Infotainment systems comprise most Automotive sector litigation

Automotive Patent Litigation by TechnologyOtherConventi…SafetyPowertrainCarMultimed…AutomotiveElectronics2012201320142015050100150200
Automotive ElectronicsCar Multimedia/InfotainmentPowertrainSafetyConventional Vehicle ComponentsOther

Most of the Automotive sector litigation appears to be focused on areas which are having a rapid evolution in technology.  These areas are better defined in Unified Automotive Zone definition which is linked here.


Table 3: Top 10 Automotive sector companies most litigated against since 2012

  1. Ford (30)
  2. Toyota (30)
  3. BMW (29)
  4. Hyundai (29)
  5. Mercedes-Benz (27)
  6. Nissan (26)
  7. General Motors (24)
  8. Volkswagen (22)
  9. FCA / Chrysler (21)
  10. Honda (17)


Table 4: Top 10 Automotive sector companies with most IPRs since 2012

  1. TRW Automotive (50)
  2. Ford (35)
  3. Toyota (35)
  4. Mercedes-Benz (19)
  5. Honda (16)
  6. Volkswagen (13)
  7. FCA / Chrysler (11)
  8. Hyundai (11)
  9. Nissan (7)
  10. Bosch (7)


Table 5: Top 10 NPE litigants in the automotive sector since 2012

  1. American Vehicular Sciences (48)
  2. Beacon Navigation (36)
  3. Cruise Control Technologies (28)
  4. Peter Wingard (22)
  5. Delaware Radio Technologies (17)
  6. Norman IP Holdings (17)
  7. Signal IP (17)
  8. NovelPoint Tracking (13)
  9. Affinity Labs of Texas (12)
  10. Joao Control & Monitoring Systems (12)



Unified looked at all major Automotive manufacturers and the top 10 Automotive suppliers by revenue since 2012.

Total number of reported cases can vary. Unified made its best attempt to eliminate mistaken or duplicative filings.

Statistics include litigations initiated by NPEs or Declaratory Judgments (DJs) initiated by operating companies against NPEs.

Unified strives to accurately identify NPE through all available means, such as court filings, public documents, and product documentation.


Non Practicing Entity (NPE) = Company which derives the majority of its total revenue from Patent Licensing activities.

Operating Company or Op. Co. = Company which derives most of its total revenue from Product Sales or Services. Could be an SME or a large company.

NPE (Patent Assertion Entities) = Entity whose primary activity is licensing patents and acquired most of its patents from another entity

NPE (Small Company) = Entity whose original activity was providing products and services, but now is primarily focused on monetizing its own patent portfolio.

NPE (Individual) = Entity owned of controlled by an individual inventor who is primarily focused on monetizing inventions patents by that individual inventor.