Delco Remy International, Inc. has alleged patent infringement in a lawsuit against three manufacturers of alternators and starters in the U.S.
Delco Remy filed the patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. Federal District court of Indiana, against the three companies along with cease and desist notifications to 30 smaller manufacturers and distributors.
The lawsuit concerns various automotive alternators and starters, which contain Delco Remy’s patented proprietary technology.
Named in the lawsuit are Unipoint Electric Manufacturing Ltd. of Taiwan, NSA Corporation of Sterling, Virginia and Unit Parts Corporation of Oklahoma City, Oklahomaa.
"Counterfeit and patent infringing automotive replacement parts have become a major problem for the industry," says Richard L. Stanley, president of Delco Remy’s Original Equipment group.
The companies named in the lawsuit are makers and importers that use and sell the parts in question to major distributors and retailers in the United States. Delco Remy alleges that these sources are channeling new knock-off parts into the automotive aftermarket, which traditionally uses remanufactured products.
"These copied products may look like our patented designs but typically do not meet the design specifications in terms of functionality, quality and durability," says Stanley.
Cease and desist notifications to more than 30 smaller manufacturers are aimed at stopping those companies from copying the intellectual property. Major national distributors and retailers, who may have unsuspectingly purchased patent-infringing parts named in the complaint, are being advised of the lawsuit.
The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) estimates that counterfeit and patent infringing replacement auto parts cost the global automotive industry approximately $12 billion (U.S.) annually.
"Our objective is to protect the integrity of all legitimate manufacturers and remanufacturers in the market place," says Richard L. Keister, president of Delco Remy’s aftermarket group.
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