• May 9, 2008
While parts sales don't typically show up in quarterly earnings reports, they can comprise a big chunk of profits. Ford is protecting its parts investment by filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington against eight companies that are reproducing Mustang parts without the Blue Oval's consent. Ford parts affected are the hood, bumper, fender, side-view mirror and tail lamp assemblies, which are all covered under Ford's 14-year design patent on design elements. Chicago-based LKQ Corp and its Keystone Automotive Industries are named in the complaint along with several companies in Taiwan. Ford has already come out victorious in a similar case involving some of the same suppliers and the F-150, and Keystone is currently appealing. With Ford already winning a similar case, and what we'd assume is a much larger legal budget than the defendants', the Blue Oval will likely come out on top in this ruling, as well.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 19 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Say what?

      This cannot stand. A design patent to get exclusivity on replacement parts? This is really bad for the consumer. And beyond that, if they get away with this, they'll just patent the shape of the engine next and say you can't get away with making water pumps either.

      This doesn't seem to be an appropriate use of design patents anyway. It's not like these companies are making other cars that look like Mustangs, they're just making parts to keep your actual Mustang going.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah but they're making money off of a Ford design and that's the problem. I'm sure if they were paying a licensing fee to Ford it'd be all fine, but can you blame a company like Ford for protecting their interests? After all they were the ones who had to spend the money to design the parts in the first place. They should be allowed to recoup as much money as possible for their designs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A way for a struggling auto manufacturer to artificially inflate parts prices and kiss the behinds of the union domestic parts producers, thusly screwing the consumer. As long as someone knows they're not using "genuine" parts and they may not meet original manufacturers standards is all that need be done.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know, I _was_ going to come in here and bitch about "litigation instead of innovation" and all that, but seeing as how Ford's design is only covered by a (completely sane and fair) 14-year patent (instead of 50-years or something), I won't.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I seriously drive a car that's 20 years old. Know a lot of other people who do, too. :P
      • 6 Years Ago
      there go all the cheap capa certified crash replacement parts.
      would probably increase insurance rates for the mustang.
      insurance companies love LKQ parts.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Cheap, substandard, third world replacement auto parts serve a useful purpose. They curb the unfettered greed a supply monopoly fosters. Ford would not sue otherwise.

      The auto insurance cartel practices the ol' bait and switch. Promise good stuff and deliver crap. Policyholders insisting on the OEM parts their premiums prepaid are forced to pay the cost difference. Few governments intervene.

      • 6 Years Ago
      In defense of Ford and all automakers it cost them millions to tool up to make these cars and the parts. So to have the offshore guys buy a ford fender and then mass produce them is wrong. From much of my experience the quailty of these parts is sub par at best to out right junk that does not fit. Thes companies are problably try to bypass the normal business rules. I can buy Monroe struts or other replacement and high performance parts for these cars or trucks. These companies are obviously going through the proper procedure to do this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The problem I have is that buying the parts that you get directly from the manufacturer have insanely inflated prices. The molds and tooling have already been paid for through the sale of the cars to the dealers. Yeas it cost millions to create all the parts for the car but it didn't take a million dollars to make the bumper.

      My fiance destroyed the bumper on her Corolla and the Toyota dealer wanted $600 for a new one. I went to a body shop and got an aftermarket one for $120. That is too big of a difference to ignore. There is no way that an aftermarket supplier made as many bumpers as Toyota.

      Same thing with factory wheels. Mistsubishi charged $380 for one 17" wheel made by Enkei. Considering that the retail price for a similar wheel from the same manufacturer is $160 I think that is a total rippoff. It is guaranteed that Enkei made more wheels for Mitsubishi of that design than any other wheel in thier catalog so that individual price should be much less, not twice as much.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed.

        We can expect to see far more totalled Mustangs and other Fords on the road because of this ruling. Insurance companies would prefer to total the car out than to submit to paying for the OEM body parts etc.

        They already do that for cars that are only a couple of years old, imagine how 14yrs will affect them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ford has it's right to protect it's capital investments.

      But I hope they don't go nuts and start hitting on non-original aftermarket parts...
        • 6 Years Ago
        As long as the parts maker is licensed, they should be fine.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Keystone for those not in the loop, is one of the big suppliers of lenses/etc for Advance Auto Parts.
        • 6 Years Ago
        LKQ Corp, an auto recycling chain, recently aquired Keystone and a handful of other suppliers.

        Keystone specializes in refurbished wheels, body parts, etc.

        What's funny is they have a Mustang tail light right on thier website: http://keystone-auto.com/bodyshops/products.html

        I don't see what the big deal is, ALOT of insurance companies don't WANT to put expensive OE parts on a vehicle more than a year old. That's why places like Keystone and LKQ thrive.

        Why pay $300+ for a wheel from Ford when Keystone has one with similar quality for under $200??

        I sure don't, and that's why I continue to use them both at my job.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Counterfeit parts coming from Asia? Never would have guessed...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fake Spare parts for the car company that barey sell any cars, Brilliant.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Design patents protect intellectual property. This is similar to movies, music, and software. Ford has a right to protect their property and it is up to them whether or not they choose to license their designs and if so to whom.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good.

      I hope Ford sues them into financial oblivion. It's about time domestic companies start protecting their trade and patent turf.

      If that means that half of China starves, then all the better.
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