U.S. ITC issues final determination in Toyo Tire design infringement claim

July 31, 2014
Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. and Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. announced recently that the U.S. International Trade Commission has issued its final determination against eight remaining respondents in the tire design patent infringement complaint filed by Toyo on Sept. 20, 2013.

Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. and Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. (collectively, “Toyo”) announced recently that the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) has issued its final determination against eight remaining respondents in the tire design patent infringement complaint filed by Toyo on Sept. 20, 2013.

The ITC issued limited exclusion orders and cease-and-desist orders to prohibit the importation and sale of any infringing tires by these eight respondents. Each was previously found to be in default and in violation of the law.

Toyo, which markets and sells tires under the Toyo Tires® and Nitto® brands, has over the years developed and introduced passenger and light truck tires with designs that are both innovative and unique, many of which are protected by design patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Toyo had originally filed complaints before the ITC against 23 manufacturers, exporters, importers, distributors and dealers located in China, Thailand and the U.S. Of the 23 respondents, 15 had earlier agreed to settle the complaint.

In addition to the ITC action, Toyo had also filed several companion Federal district court cases, most of which have now been resolved.

As part of the settlements, the 15 respondents agreed to cease-and-desist from importing and selling the infringing products, and to promptly dispose of any remaining inventory. Several of the manufacturers agreed to destroy molds used to produce the named products, and some paid an undisclosed cash sum to Toyo. All of the settling respondents also agreed to not manufacture, market or distribute other tires which Toyo believes infringes on its intellectual property rights, but which were not a part of the ITC action.

“Toyo makes considerable investments in developing unique and proprietary tire designs. The designs are well-recognized and well-received in the marketplace, and represent the quality and aesthetic appeal that our customers have come to expect and recognize from our Toyo Tires and Nitto brands.” said Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas’ Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Iori Suzuki. “Toyo appreciates the ITC’s recognition of our design patents, and their enforcement of our intellectual property rights against infringers. We will continue to vigorously defend our patents against infringement.”

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