• May 12, 2008
Toyota lawyers arrived at the U.S. Supreme Court today and were denied an appeal to overturn a ruling originally upheld by a federal appeals court in Washington last year. The case involved a technology patent held by a company named Paice LLC, which contended that Toyota used the same microprocessor developed by the McLean, Virginia-based company on its hybrid vehicles that inputs torque information for both the gasoline-powered engine and the electric motor. The $4.3 million dollar award against Toyota will stand, and Toyota is required to pay royalties to the firm to the tune of $25 for every Prius, Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX400h sold. Ouch. Sometimes the price of success is steep.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Loonie is trading 1.0062 to 1 vs the Dollar. Woudl not have been that much worse making them pay in Canadian.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Brent...
        Right because Canadians really tip 5%. Moron. When service is good, the server gets 20% from me. Tell your girlfriend to work harder. That, or keep your ignorant comments off an AUTOMOTIVE blog.

        (I'm Canadian, in case you haven't figured that out yet.)
      Drake
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Prius, Camry, RX400h use a hybrid system designed by Toyota. The LS600h, and GS450h, use a hybrid system designed by Aisin, a transmission supplier. (don't know why the Camry wasn't included in the suit). By the way, several members of the Board of Directors of Aisin are Toyota executives, so you could say Toyota has some control over Aisin. Why Toyota doesn't have to pay fines on the RWD models is unknown. Maybe they do and the article didn't pick up on it, or maybe Aisin uses a slightly different controller. Or maybe Paice just went after the bigger company, and will go after Aisin next.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Drake
        Actually, Aisin Seiki is a member of the Toyota Group.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This seems to imply that Paice actually makes cars and not just patents?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The U.S. judicial system is seriously broken. If I were Toyota I'd pull the Prius out of the U.S. market. The US $ isn't worth much anyway.
        • 6 Years Ago
        so in protest for a $25 million fine, they should loose hundreds of millions by throwing a hissy fit...

        good plan, i nominate this guy for CEO of toyota
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, intellectual property is ONE place where the US judicial system works many times. How would you feel if you invented something and watched others steal the design for financial gain while you sit in squaller eating ramen noodles?
        • 6 Years Ago
        also considering the YEN is trading around ~100 to 1 you're argument is further made mute.
          • 6 Years Ago
          It's moot. Retard.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Pacman, you mean "moot"
        Drake
        • 6 Years Ago
        Makes it cheap to pay the fine. Would have been worse if it was $25 in Canadian.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You are an idiot.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oby, Oby, wherefore art thou, Oby?


      Another nail in the coffin.
      • 6 Years Ago
      to bad fisker will never be a large company as "fisker" sounds like some sort of dirty sexual thing.

      She fiskered me all night long.

      The Fisker automobile is doomed to failure.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The only thing tha comes to my mind is Fisher Price...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now we know why Toyota just had that price increase across the board.they saw it comming?

      so we the costumer never wins.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The consumer is the final link in the chain, as such the consumer pays all costs, including profit. If not there would be no profit or even a loss.

        If there was no profit then the worker who make the products would NEVER get a pay raise and there would be no money for the development of newer, more advanced products.

        So unless you want the 2008 Accord/iPod/whatever to be the exact same product available for purchase in 2058 and never want to get a pay raise in you job, don't complain about having to pay the costs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Toyota has been ripping from GM, Ford and any other companies for decades, I'm glad someone finally stood up to the ripoffs."

      That explains the current recalls and cheaper looking interiors...
        • 6 Years Ago
        and the similarity of "Land Cruiser" with "Land Rover" is probably just a coincidence too ;))
        • 6 Years Ago
        Historically speaking, Toyota officially began making cars when Kiichiro Toyoda built the first Toyota, tha A1, by copying the Chevrolet 65 horsepower straight-six and copying the chassis gearbox and styling from the Chevrolet Airflow.

        So there is some validity to that statement.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, but the other difference between Land Cruiser and Land Rover is that the former is rock-reliable while the latter is a subject of Lucas Electronics, the Prince of Darkness.
      • 6 Years Ago
      so there, i don't want to hear any more BS about how ford is basically just using old toyota hybrid tech. all companies share and use each others technologies, some just do it legally.
        • 6 Years Ago
        well that is our legal system for you, in that grey area, there is no way to know if you are breaking the law until you get served papers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford licensed 26 patents from Toyota. Toyota is also being sued in Germany over a CVT patent related to Hybrids.

        Basically its just that the system is so convoluted and such that your never sure where your safe or if someone isn't sitting on a related patent or submarining one.

        What is interesting is how low the fine is. This implies it wasn't done intentionally.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Paice LLC is a patent troll. Their business model is to file concepts without the intention of ever developing the idea and to negotiate some kind of licensing deal. Toyota decided it wasn't going to that game.

        Take a look at Paice's patent filing. It has the sophistication of a highschool science project. http://patimg1.uspto.gov/.piw?docid=US007237634&SectionNum=1&IDKey=7E07DFC11908&HomeUrl=http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1%2526Sect2=HITOFF%2526d=PALL%2526p=1%2526u=%25252Fnetahtml%25252FPTO%25252Fsrchnum.htm%2526r=1%2526f=G%2526l=50%2526s1=7237634.PN.%2526OS=PN/7237634%2526RS=PN/7237634

        Guess what the founder of Paice is doing now. Al Severinsky is patent trolling the alternative fuel industry. I am sure one of his companies will be in the news again in a few years involved in another patent infringement lawsuit seeking royalties as compensation.

        FYI, the first patent that I could find describing a hybrid vehicle as we know it today was first filed by Matsukata back in March 1970 patent number 3502165, "GAS-ELECTRIC DRIVEN VEHICLE WITH RETRACTABLE WHEELS"

        Since 1970, a host of patents for gas-electric vehicle have been file. The majority of them originating from Japan. The development history of gas-electric (hybrid) is long and documented. It didn't happen overnite.

        If Paice LLC, truly had a working hybrid drive system, there would have been a bidding war to buy the company or the technology by ANY of Toyota's competitors. That did not happen, because Paice LLC has developed nothing but vaporware. Very simply, the company is a patent troll that happen to strike it big this time.

        If you think the business of patent trolls are good, then go ahead and celebrate. Its certainly seems like a easy way to make a buck, but not what I would call an honest way to earn profits.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Folks Toyota stole this technology and claimed it as their own, they should have been made to pay more.
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