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March 9, 2017

Ford refutes hybrid patent infringement claims

Paice, which develops hybrid vehicle technology, said the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has instituted a formal investigation into patent infringement claims against Ford  which the automaker denies.

Paice, which develops hybrid vehicle technology, said the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has instituted a formal investigation into patent infringement claims against Ford  which the automaker denies.

“If Paice prevails, all imports of Ford’s infringing hybrid cars (including the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ models) would be banned from entering the United States,” it said.

Paice and the Abell Foundation filed a complaint in February 2017 asking the ITC to prohibit Ford from importing hybrid vehicles from Mexico.

Paice claims there was a four-year relationship with Ford from 1999 to 2004 during which Paice interacted with more than a dozen Ford executives and engineers and performed detailed modelling and component design work in the belief that the companies would come to a business agreement.

In the end, Ford declined to take a license from Paice. Ford licensed Toyota’s hybrid technology and later took a global license for all of Paice’s patented technology. Paice currently has licence agreements with Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and other automakers who collectively account for 70% of all hybrid vehicles sold in the US.

After years of trying to negotiate a licensing agreement with Ford, Paice filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Ford in US District Court in 2014. Ford has in turn filed 25 petitions before the US Patent Office challenging the patents and, Paice claims, delayed the case in federal court.

Paice believes Ford needs a licence to continue using Paice’s patented hybrid technology and Paice has now turned to the ITC “to hold Ford accountable”.

Ford spokesman Brad Carroll said: “Ford has been defending itself against the infringement allegations of licensing company Paice LLC for some time, most recently in multiple appeals before the Federal Circuit –  with the first results just being received this week that were very favourable to Ford.  The company will continue to vigorously defend itself against these unsubstantiated allegations.”

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