NPE Activity Update: Transport Zone 2017


Breaking with the trend from previous years, litigation in the Transport zone (f/k/a Automotive) has increased in 2017. From 2012 to 2016, litigation in the Transport zone has followed the trend of overall patent litigation, which peaked in 2013 and gradually decreased since then. However, the volume of Transport zone litigation in 2017 exceeded that for previous years, due in large part to an increased number of assertions targeting automotive electronics and infotainment systems.


In 2017, every technology (other than Safety) surpassed the total number of cases litigated in 2016. Notably, litigation involving automotive electronics and powertrain technologies has dramatically increased since 2016. For more information about these categories, view our Transport zone definition.

Infotainment systems are the among the most frequently litigated automotive patents, representing approximately 39 percent of all Transport cases in 2017.


NPEs continue to pose a serious risk to automotive companies and account for 72 percent of litigation in 2017. The majority of these threats came from Patent Assertion Entities (entities whose primary purpose is patent assertion), however auto companies also faced threats from a small handful of individual inventors.

The top 5 plaintiffs for litigation in the Transport zone are all well-known NPEs. 

Figure 5: 2017's most frequent plaintiffs for the Transport zone

  1. Intellectual Ventures (14 assertions)
  2. Somaltus LLC (12 assertions) 
  3. Magnacross LLC (11 assertions)
  4. Location Based Services, LLC (9 assertions)
  5. Blue Sky Networks, LLC (8 assertions)