Yokohama Tire Corporation and The Yokohama Rubber Company, Ltd. have reached a final settlement agreement with Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. pertaining to design patent infringement, with Hangzhou agreeing to destroy the manufacturing molds and remaining inventory of its Westlake H280 tires. In September 2006, Yokohama Tire Corporation, based in Southern California, and its parent company The Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., based in Japan, initiated legal proceedings against China’s Hangzhou alleging, among other claims, a violation of Yokohama’s tire tread design patent which protects some of its best-selling brands, including the Geolandar A/T+II. “When another company encroaches on our intellectual property, we’ll passionately defend our rights,” says Jim MacMaster, Yokohama executive vice-president, business division. “Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. However, our success in this grievance against Hangzhou shows other tire manufacturers that, when it comes to stealing our industry-leading tire designs, we’ll assertively enforce our patent and trademark rights.” Highlights of the settlement stipulate the following: Hangzhou destroys manufacturing molds of the Westlake H280 tires and provides Yokohama with an affidavit confirming the destruction and a clear photo of the destroyed molds; Hangzhou stops all shipments and sales of the Westlake H280 tires worldwide and destroys any remaining inventory of the tire; and Hangzhou pays Yokohama a cash settlement.