Toyota has asked that a lawsuit issued by Paice LLC to the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington for patent infringement be dismissed due to the fact that the case has already been heard in a Texas district court. This particular lawsuit could potentially halt the importation of all Toyota vehicles using the automaker's proprietary Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain technology, including, of course, the Prius.
This isn't the first time the two companies have scuffled over hybrid patent issues. Back in 2005, Paice won an initial judgment against Toyota that resulted in an order that the automaker to pay Paice monetary damages of $4.3 million. At that time, the judge rejected a request to force Toyota to halt sales of hybrid vehicles in the U.S.
According to Toyota, Paice was already awarded a royalty on each hybrid vehicle sold, and in accepting those payments has bound itself to the court's verdict. As such, it can't both accept the royalties and then later have the importation of the vehicles in question blocked. At least, we think that's the argument. Make sense?