• Oct 19th 2007 at 1:56PM
  • 7
Paice LLC sued Toyota in 2004 over three patents Paice said Toyota infringed with their hybrid drive train. The court ruled, in a jury verdict at a Texas court known for patent cases, that Toyota did infringe on one of the three patents and Toyota had to pay $25 per infringing car (Prius II, Toyota Highlander hybrid and Lexus RX400H) or $4.23 M. The court also ruled Toyota did not have to stop making cars that infringed on Paice's patents. Today, Bloomberg reported that the appeals court reaffirmed the ruling but did ask the lower court to revisit the reason for the $25 damages for every infringing car sold. Both companies appealed to a higher court.

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Until Toyota stops fighting the CAFE increase to 35MPG they can bite me! Unrelated to the post, perhaps but I don't care.
      • 7 Years Ago
      that's pretty hurting, oh wells they better still pay my wages when i work for them!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Paice LLC is a "patent mill", an operation that looks for hot new trends, then makes loads of confusing and vaguely worded patents, sit back, and wait for someone else to do the hard work and bring it to market. If something becomes a big success, they check to see if they have any patents even remotely resembling it, then they file lawsuits to try and get rich.

      In this case, when Clinton announced the "Partnership for Next Generation Vehicles" to develop hybrid technologies, someone at Paice LLC filed several bad patent applications on hybrid cars, and the overloaded and understaffed US Patent Office issued the patents. Years later, after the Prius became a smash hit and was named "Car of the Year", they struck. The Paice LLC website lists the company - 1 technical advisor, 1 marketing guy, 1 CEO, and a long list of "Counsels", in other words, lawyers. I'm betting they have no lab, have done no testing, have no prototypes or models.

      The job of the marketing guy is to go around to the potential marks, uh, "clients", and show them some of the bad patents. Of course, the companies are not interested in bad ideas and turn them down, but it makes it easy for the patent mill operators to claim later on in court that they "tried to get a licensing agreement, but the big bad company turned them down and then stole their wonderful ideas."

      This should be a warning to anyone trying to market a great new idea. Beware of marketing people trying to license you bad ideas. Protect yourself with your own patents.

      It's not suprising that there was no restriction placed on Toyota making new hybrids - it was specifically requested by Paice. After all, they have absolutely no intention of wasting any of their money and effort to bring their "patented" ideas to market, and they really don't want to interrupt the flow of fat royalty checks from Toyota.

      Of the 3 so-called "patent infringements", 2 have already been thrown out. I'm hoping that Toyota will win their appeal in a higher court, preferrably one not as biased against successful foreign owned companies.
      • 7 Years Ago
      how many know, Toyota, thru Panasonic stole the battery tech (NIMH) from ECD , now Cobasys. Serves them right.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The patent company obviously is not satisfied with $25 a pop.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "how many know, Toyota, thru Panasonic stole the battery tech (NIMH) from ECD , now Cobasys. Serves them right."

      Toyota developed a great NiMH battery with Panasonic with the now defunct all-electric Rav4 EV. Some company sued them for patent infringement (I'm pretty sure it was Cobasys who sued.) Texaco bought Cobasys, and Exxon Mobil then bought Texaco. Some say Toyta stole the technology from Cobasys, others say that the battery was such an improvement (many Rav4 EVs have over 100k miles, still going strong) over Cobasy's, that there shouldn't be any patent infringemnet.

      "Both companies appealed to a higher court."

      I understand why Toyota would appeal, but why the other company? The other company got its way.

      • 7 Years Ago
      As irked as you may be at Toyota, I find the idea of a company that exists only to sue other companies for patent infringement really the lowest of the low.

      At least Toyota is doing something with the technology.

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