The Ridesharing Revolution – A Competitive Comparison

The world of transportation is undergoing a radical change with the the introduction of digital technologies in its business processes and operations. The ridesharing model, which uses an app for the customers and drivers to connect directly, offers multiple advantages, such as simplicity and ease of use, reduced travel costs, less traffic congestion and consequently less pollution.

Many companies around the world offer ridesharing services. Platforms such as Uber, Lyft (U.S.A.), Didi Chuxing (China) and Ola (India) are disrupting the automobile sector with their innovative smart mobility solutions and services.

In this post, we present a competitive landscape by comparing the patent portfolios of three major ridesharing companies – Uber, Lyft and Didi Chuxing.

Patent Trend – Comparison

Figure 1: Published Applications – Trend [Click to enlarge image]

Uber is the pioneer of ridesharing technology and its patent filings show a sharp growth since 2014. Its competitors – Didi Chuxing’s patent publications exhibit a sudden increase after 2016 and Lyft’s post 2017, as seen in figure 1, which depicts the patent applications publication trend.

Technology – Competitive Landscape

Figure 2 shows the competitive landscape for the top technology segments. Uber leads in most of the technology categories followed by Didi Chuxing. It is also seen that Uber’s patent assets in navigation and GPS technologies are comparable to those of autonomous vehicle companies. Didi Chuxing has a strong patent coverage in data processing related technology categories.

Figure 2: Technology Distribution [Click to enlarge image]

Figure 3: Comparative Topic Map – CPC Codes [Click to enlarge image]

The top CPC codes are depicted in the Topic Map in Figure 3. This Topic Map shows the comparison of CPC codes addressed by the portfolios of Uber, Lyft and Didi Chuxing. The size of each bubble represents the total number of patent applications across portfolios and the coloured sectors represent the relative number of applications in the respective portfolios of each patent holder for each CPC code. The proximity of the bubbles corresponds to the “relatedness” of the individual CPC Codes.

A detailed analysis of the top three common CPC codes shows that Uber has early filings in technologies covered by these codes. However, Didi Chuxing has bulked up its patent portfolio in these areas in recent years.

For the CPC Codes such as G06Q 50/30 (transportation related communications), G06Q 10/02 (reservations), G06Q 10/06 (scheduling), and G06Q 10/04 (demand/price forecasting), Didi Chuxing owns a larger number of patent assets than Uber, while Uber has a higher number of patents for all the other top CPC codes.

Patent Acquisitions and Licensing

Figure 4: Uber – Patent Acquisitions [Click to enlarge image]

Uber’s patent portfolio has been enhanced by its acquisitions. Figure 4 illustrates the patents Uber acquired through its acquisition activity.

Shanghai Liangming Technology Development Company and GETT/ GETTAXI could be potential leads for either acquiring or licensing patent assets – for Uber, Didi and Lyft to improve their respective patent positions in different technology categories. Our report provides a detailed analysis of the patent assets held by these potential leads vis-à-vis Uber, Lyft and Didi, across the different technology categories.

Read our report to obtain the complete picture.

Download the report.

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