Paice LLC: “Hey Ford, About Those Plug-In Energis and Hybrids…You’ve Been Served”


Technology Found Inside The C-Max Energi By Have Come Via Paice LLC

Technology Found Inside The C-Max Energi By Have Come Via Paice LLC

Paice LLC is known for its patents covering how electric motors and their gas counterparts interact with each other to bring high efficiencies, low emissions and most importantly – no loss of performance in so doing.

The Fusion Energi Uses The Same Drive Control Systems As The C-Max Energi

The Fusion Energi Uses The Same Drive Control Systems As The C-Max Energi

In 2005 Paice won a high profile infringement trial against Toyota, and just a scant 5 years later the companies reached a global settlement that had threatened to place an import ban on the likes of the Toyota Prius.

Now, according to the Detroit News, after collaborating with the US auto maker in over “100 meetings and interactions with Ford to help the automaker develop a hybrid engine that would increase gasoline mileage without losing performance,” its Ford’s turn to receive a 50 page complaint and subsequent lawsuit from Paice.

Why now and not 5+ years ago?  Ford licensed one of Paice’s patents in 2010, and as part of that deal there was a ‘litigation cease fire’ between the companies until at least January 1st, 2014 to give them “time to reach a broader settlement.”

It seems like as soon as Ford inked that deal they weren’t so interested in reaching that settlement as Paice says that the negotiations where “short and one-sided.” 

So now, time is up!

Pick A Ford...Any Ford - Odds Are There Is A Dispute With Paice LLC Over It

Pick A Ford…Any Ford – Odds Are There Is A Dispute With Paice LLC Over It  (Ok, maybe not the Focus EV)

The lawsuit includes technology found in most of Ford’s hybrid lineup, including the likes of the C-Max Energi and the Fusion Energi.

“The truth is that Ford built its new hybrid system by relying heavily on the hybrid vehicle inventions it learned from Paice,” said the company in the 50 page complaint.

The Detroit News further reports that Ford was not caught off guard by this action, as they attempted to pre-empt this lawsuit by filing a complaint in December motioning the court to not allow Paice to file a their own complaint as part of their 2010 deal.

While this latest Paice lawsuit doesn’t outline the amount of money the company is looking for, it does note that Paice made available their technology for $150 per vehicles in 1999.
Detroit News

Category: Ford

19 responses to "Paice LLC: “Hey Ford, About Those Plug-In Energis and Hybrids…You’ve Been Served”"
  1. Anon says:

    Established automakers using Lawyers instead of Engineers to solve design issues, sucks. Ford’s corporate culture must be pretty corrupt… 🙁

  2. pjwood says:

    Ditto. There seems to be a gulf between GM and Ford. One developing its own technology and forwarding solid EPA figures, the other procuring it and missrepresenting them with profitable, if unscrupulous, marketing.

    Stronger words could be levied on Ford, for how heavily they advertised the efficiency people would get, and how badly they missed. The $500 CMax checks were a money maker, just like a settlement with Paice could be. It’s a “bad deeds can pay” mentality.

  3. Have you guys noticed that Paice LLC is basically just a patent troll now? They aren’t developing anything, they are using their original patents (which may nor may not apply to Ford’s system, or anyone elses) to litigate themselves wealth. Check out the Paice LLC web site, you’ll understand.

    1. Bloggin says:

      I agree. Ford may have licensed one of their technologies early on, but at that time they were also achieving similar mpg results as Toyota. But since then, Ford has advanced far beyond what was learned from Paice or Toyota.

      The obvious example is the 2014 Camry Hybrid at EPA 40/38 compared with the new 2014 Fusion Hybrid at EPA 47/47. Same size vehicle with much better hybrid mpg.

      Clearly Ford has advanced the hybrid technology so far that it is their own. This is why Ford was confident in not needing additional licensing from Paice. The reality is that Paice had their pay day 5 years ago with Toyota, who has no desire to innovate, but only to recycle the same 14 year old tech into even older platforms.

      But with Ford’s focus on innovation, their hybrid technology has advanced and left Paice behind trying to claim a patent on the invention of the wheel.

      1. Taser54 says:

        Obviously, you misunderstand patents. Even if improve an invention, you still have to license the invention if it infringes on a broad patent. You may be able to patent your innovation-the improvement- but the basic invention is still protected from infringement as long as the original patent is enforceable.

      2. sven says:

        “The obvious example is the 2014 Camry Hybrid at EPA 40/38 compared with the new 2014 Fusion Hybrid at EPA 47/47. Same size vehicle with much better hybrid mpg.”

        Ford is really good at making a vehicle that games the EPA mileage test, but their real-world mileage is much, much lower than their EPA rating. According to, the real-world mileage for the Fusion Hybrid is about the same as the Camry Hybrid.

    2. Aaron says:

      Looks pretty straight-forward to me. What do you see that flags them as a patent troll?

      1. Read the site. They are owned by the Abell Foundation. The only thing they do is litigate patents. They don’t say anything about ongoing R&D.

        1. sven says:

          “The only thing they do is litigate patents.”

          Paice licenses their hybrid patents to companies that want to use their intellectual property. But they also sue companies that infringe on their patents. It’s up to the jury to determine if Ford is infringing on Paice’s patents.

          You should watch “Flash of Genius,” a film about the true story of inventor Robert Kearns and his legal battle against the Ford Motor Company. Ford developed an intermittent windshield wiper based on ideas Kearns had patented.

          It’s very difficult for a patent holder to sue a multi-billion dollar corporation with almost unlimited resources for their legal defense. That’s why many patent holders sell their patents to patent holding companies, which have the resources to go up against large corporations that choose to infringe on patents rather than license them.

          1. Taser54 says:

            Also look up Gordon Gould.

        2. Bloggin says:

          Exactly! They think because they invented a few components of an old hybrid technology 15 years ago, that they own all future hybrid technologies going forward because they are hybrid. Not gonna happen.

  4. CherylG says:

    They remind of the patent trolls that are currently suing Tesla.

    1. sven says:

      How do you distinguish between a patent troll and a patent holder that has a valid claim for infringement?

  5. Vik says:

    This company Paice was founded by a soviet engineer that immigrated to the united states in 1991 and looked to capitalize on the technology he was involved with, so does that really mean that hybrid technology has a Communist origin? Quick someone let Fox News know about this so that they can add to their crazed list of why they hate hybrids.

    1. CherylG says:

      FoxNews does hate hybrids, it’s InsideEV users that do. Hybrids contain evil ICEs in them.


      Hybrid = Bad
      EV = Good

  6. MTN Ranger says:

    Offering an MKZ Energi should be a no-brainer since it’s basically a Fusion. It’s a nice looking car.

  7. EV says:

    all those fords suck so who cares

  8. Chris O says:

    IP rights should be kept to a minimum. If one doesn’t use one’s rights to do a product after a while other parties should have the right to use them with minimal compensation for the patent holder.

  9. Jesse Gurr says:

    Looking at the complaint itself I see that the patents they are talking about were issued in 2006 or later. I don’t do a lot of patent litigation but can they sue for patent infringement when there was no patent issued when the Escape hybrid went into production?

    What about all those patents that Ford got for its new hybrid system?

    I don’t get this paragraph of the complaint, page 16:
    “Another aspect of eCVT-based hybrid topology is limited towing capacity. The
    range of output torque that is required for heavy towing capacity will easily exceed the range that is reasonably practical for an eCVT. Paice’s patented technology provides critical benefits to all types of hybrid systems, whether or not an eCVT-based topology is used.”

    Is it saying that the patent is good whether you use an eCVT or not? So they just patent some abstract general idea and call it good?

    Also, here is the patent study done by Griffith Hack: