In 2020, Connected Cars Drove NPEs to the Automotive Space
January 27, 2021
A surge of NPE activity in the Automotive sector, first noted by RPX in May 2020, persisted through the second half of the year. With new entrants flocking to the scene, historically aggressive plaintiffs active in the space, and cars becoming increasingly high-tech, sustained activity in the sector looks likely. The effects will be felt by a broad range of defendants, from car makers and their suppliers to tech companies and wireless technology providers.
As shown below, NPE litigation hitting the Automotive market sector increased by 120% in 2020 compared to the previous year—far more than other sectors, though Networking, Medical, and E-Commerce and Software also saw significant bumps.
While the total number of NPE cases filed in the Automotive sector this year appears relatively modest, certain indicators suggest that activity in this space will continue to increase. Notably, most of the automotive defendants sued by NPEs this year were named in campaigns initiated in 2020. Moreover, the historically aggressive behavior of some of the plaintiffs involved portends further growth in this sector. So does the continued evolution of cars as connected devices.
See RPX’s fourth-quarter review for a deep dive into the plaintiffs that hit the Automotive space in 2020—and for details on other patent litigation and marketplace trends.