Ford Motor Company has had some success in fighting back against allegations of patent infringement leveled by Maryland’s Paice LLC. Paice first filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Ford in February, 2014, claiming that the automaker was using technologies patented by Paice in the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, both of which are imported from Mexico. After the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled in Ford’s favor, Paice tried again, and in February, 2017, requested that the US International Trade Commission stopped Ford from importing the “infringing” vehicles.
Now, an appeals court has delivered a verdict on two patents owned by Paice, according to World Intellectual Property Review, largely siding with Ford and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Both of those parties said that Paice’s two patents in question contain claims that are obvious based on prior art – that is, things that cannot be protected by patent because they have already been described and made public in existing patents.
The appeals court upheld all determinations of obviousness with regard to Paice LLC’s patent No. 8,214,097, and some of the determinations relating to patent No. 7,237,634. The other claims of patent ‘634 have been referred back to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board for consideration.
Ford isn’t the first automaker to be sued for alleged patent infringement by Paice LLC; in 2010, Toyota settled a lawsuit with the Baltimore company after it claimed that the Prius hybrid used powertrain concepts it had ownership over. Paice has also sued Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lexus, Hyundai, and Kia, Automotive News reports. Paice LLC Executive VP Nathanael Adamson says all of those disputes have been settled.
Fun sidenote: go to the Wikipedia entry for Paice, and the first paragraph describes the company thusly:
Paice is a Baltimore headquartered hybrid technology company. She holds numerous patents in this field of technology. This technology is a transitory technology from gas driven vehicle to electricity driven . Her fighting ‘David against Goliath’ to defend its claims is noteworthy.
So… that’s certainly some interesting language.