The United States will look into components employed by some Japanese and German automakers to see if any vehicle models sold in the country violate patent laws. Probes will be conducted into 25 automakers and parts suppliers by the U.S. International Trade Commission, including Honda, Toyota, and BMW, as well as popular Japanese parts suppliers Aisin and Denso.
Intellectual Ventures II filed a complaint in March alleging thermoplastic parts used in motors, power steering units, water pumps, and other drivetrain components were being implemented in vehicles without its knowledge. It believes the companies are infringing on its patent rights and have reached out to the Trade Commission to conduct an investigation.
Over the last several years, Toyota has fought off suits by a firm called Paice, which claimed to own patents on technology used in Toyota’s hybrid drivetrains. Toyota settled that dispute a year ago, but now Bloomberg reports that another firm is going after Toyota’s hybrid Intellectual Property (IP). According to the report
Efficient Drivetrains Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, has an exclusive license from the University of California for use of the technology, including the way electricity is drawn from a battery to power an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, according to a July 20 federal court complaint filed by Toyota in San Jose… The five patents at issue also include technology, invented by EDI co-founder Andy Frank, on ways to control the power output of an internal combustion engine and a method to draw electricity to operate the electric motor and the internal combustion engine, together or separately depending on driving conditions
You can read Toyota’s complete filing here.