2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery
Following on the heels of our earlier report about yesterday's scheduled hearing between Toyota and Alex Severinsky at the International Trade Commission came word that the parties have settled. Neither side has released any details about the agreement – and they probably won't. Toyota had previously been found guilty of infringing upon Severinsky's patent, which centers around getting power to a vehicle's wheels with a gasoline-electric vehicle using both high- and low current.
In all likelihood, Toyota agreed to pay royalties to PAICE (Severinsky's company) for all of the hybrids it has sold and will sell in the United States until the patent expires in 2012. This means that the threat of a ban on imports of Toyota hybrids has been lifted – at least until the next case.
In related news, Ford has also settled with PAICE over hybrid patent issues. The details are confidential, but there's a bit more information after the jump.
[Sources: Bloomberg, PAICE]
Paice and Ford Reach Settlement in Hybrid Vehicle Patent Infringement Disputes
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla., July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- On July 8, 2010, Paice LLC and Ford Motor Company entered into an agreement for the license of Paice's U.S. Patent No. 5,343,970. Each company had filed a lawsuit against the other relating to that patent relating to certain Ford hybrid vehicles.
Based on this agreement, the lawsuits will be promptly dismissed, bringing an end to all patent infringement litigation between the two companies.
In a joint statement, executives from both companies jointly announced, "We are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution." The terms of the license remain confidential.
Paice LLC is a U.S. technology company formed in 1992 to develop hybrid vehicle technology that promotes lower emissions, superior driving performance and fuel efficient operation of internal combustion engines. Through its inventive endeavors, Paice has obtained 11 U.S. patents related to hybrid vehicle technology, including a breakthrough patent (the '970 patent) that describes the use of high voltage in a hybrid automobile. Paice has demonstrated that using voltage as high as 500 volts or more is essential to achieving real efficiency in hybrid automobiles. A 2009 study ranked Paice's hybrid patents as the most dominant in the world. Paice has been involved in ongoing litigation with Toyota and federal courts have ruled that the Toyota Prius and other hybrids are infringing on Paice's patented technology.