According to the Samjong KPMG Economic Research Institute and the Korea Intellectual Property Protection Association, non-practicing entities (NPEs) filed a total of 157 patent suits against global automakers between 2004 and 2014. The number was less than 10 a year until 2010 but jumped to 21, 26 and 56 in 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Ford was subject to 44 suits, followed by GM (27), Hyundai Motor Company (26), Mercedes Benz (22), Nissan (22), and Kia Motors (16). The number of lawsuits regarding self-driving techniques in particular has increased rapidly since 2011 with most of them based on purchased patents.
During the same period, NPEs purchased a number of patents with respect to telematics and driver assistance above anything else.
According to Thomson Reuters, in the meantime, a total of 22,000 or so patents were applied for with regard to self-driving techniques for automatic driving, driver assistance, telematics and the like between 2010 and October last year. Toyota took up the largest portion of the total, followed by Bosch, Denso and Hyundai Motor Company. Japanese, German and South Korean companies were found to be especially specialized in automatic driving, driver assistance and telematics, respectively.