Auto Service World
News   January 11, 2006   by Auto Service World

Toyota Under Fire for Hybrid Technology

A technology company is taking aim at Toyota, saying that the company’s gas-electric hybrid Prius and Highlander vehicles infringe on its U.S. patents.
Solomon Technologies, Inc. announced today that it has expanded its litigation against Toyota by filing a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington D.C. This action is in addition to the action already filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida last September.
The ITC acts as an administrative investigative body to determine, among other things, whether or not goods imported into the United States infringe U.S. patents.
Solomon president Peter W. DeVecchis, Jr., said, “The filing of the ITC complaint is the next step in our effort to fully prosecute the alleged infringement by Toyota and to protect our valuable intellectual property. We believe that the ITC’s streamlined administrative process, as well as the technical depth of the ITC staff, will be helpful in expediting and supporting our claims.” He continued, “While the ITC can not assess damages against an infringer, it can issue an exclusion order prohibiting the importation of infringing technology. We will continue our effort to protect our intellectual property to the fullest extent possible.”
Solomon brought suit against Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, on September 12, 2005, claiming infringement of a number of claims in Solomon’s U.S. Patent Number 5,067,932, primarily relating to Toyota’s use of the technology in its Prius and Highlander Hybrid vehicles.
If Solomon were successful in its ITC action, Toyota could be prohibited from importing into the United States infringing combination motor and transmission systems and those products containing such systems, including the Toyota Prius and Highlander models.

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