2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

With all the news coming out recently about the small claims lawsuit over the Honda Civic Hybrid, readers may have forgotten the name behind a long-running legal issue over Toyota's hybrid system: Paice. The latest development is that Paice and the Abell Foundation (an investor in Paice) have sued Hyundai and Kia over the gas-electric technology used in the Optima and Sonata hybrids (pictured), which shares some parts with Paice says infringes its patents, just as it says Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive does. Read up on the details of Alex Severinsky's story here.

Paice claims that Hyundai and Kia should have known that Toyota was dealing with legal issues – especially since Paice has been contacting Hyundai about the issue – and says that the Korean automakers are infringing three patents that Paice owns. Toyota and Paice settled their long-looming hybrid patent infringement case in 2010 after eight years, during which time the courts routinely rejected Toyota's request to dismiss the case. Toyota paid royalties to Paice for the Prius, Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX400h models it sold.