Sunday 25 July 2010

Low patent count portfolio strategy succeeds against Toyota

Hot on the heels of last week’s post about UK hybrid automotive technology company EVO Electric comes the news that, after six years of litigation, US hybrid automotive technology company Paice LLC has finally reached a settlement with Toyota regarding certain Toyota vehicles found to be equivalent to a Paice US patent.

The litigation has been notable for the refusal of both US district and appeal courts to grant an injunction, prompting Paice to launch proceedings before the US International Trade Commission (ITC), which has the power to bar imports by Toyota. The prehearing conference at the ITC was scheduled for July 15.

“Paice is committed to the ongoing development of hybrid technology and selected research activities,” notes the CEO of Paice in the company’s press release. However, no new patent filings in the name of Paice LLC are indicated on the Espacenet database; rather, all six entries are indicated as having a priority date of 1998. Similarly, the eleven US patents listed on the Paice website all appear to derive from US filings made between 1992 and 1999.

For some views on the ethical rights and wrongs of Paice’s business model, see "Trolling in cleantech-Paice & Toyota settle".

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