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Toyota Denied Request to Dismiss Dispute Regarding Hybrid Technology

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On: Fri, May 28, 2010 at 9:01AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Denied Request to Dismiss Dispute Regarding Hybrid Technology

“When it rains it pours.” It seems like that should be Toyota’s new slogan as Toyota Motor Corporation lost its bid to dismiss a Florida company’s patent infringement claim.  Worst case scenario could result in the Japanese automaker being prohibited from importing its most recent model hybrids and top sellers; the Prius and Camry and Lexus Hybrids.

The Supreme Court let stand an appeal by Toyota in a $4.3 million dollar lawsuit by Paice LLC of McLean, Virginia (Paice is an acronym for Power-Assisted Internal Combustion Engines). Last year, a federal appeals court also sided with Paice. Toyota appealed but has now lost in a patent infringement case affecting their hybrid synergy system. Toyota may have to start paying Paice royalties of $25 for every Prius, Highlander Hybrid, and Lexus RX 400h sold.

The case is scheduled for a hearing starting July 19 regarding the arguments presented by the two companies. The dispute concerns the case that was upheld on appeal involving Prius and Highlander Hybrids. Paice lawyer, Ruffin Cordell stated; "We are encouraged by the judge's rulings and look forward to completing our case at the upcoming trial."

In a previous case Paice’s request to stop Toyota from importing the Prius and the Highlander Hybrid altogether was denied by a federal judge, but royalty payments were ordered instead. Now Paice has filed a new complaint with the court and the International Trade Commission, regarding patent infringements on other Toyota Hybrid models, including the Camry and Lexus Hybrid models, as well as the third-generation Prius.

Toyota is contesting the royalty rate and, according to a spokesperson for the Japanese automaker, Celeste Migliore, "Toyota is disappointed, but our overall position in the case remains unchanged," According to business week.com, “Paice said Toyota is infringing a patent for a way to supply torque, or force, to a car's wheels from both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine.” Paice also has a similar claim against Ford Motor Company pertaining to the Ford Escape and Fusion Hybrid models.


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