Monday, September 19, 2005

Antonov sues Toyota over Prius

Remember the earlier post on US 5,067,932? Now Antonov Automotive Technology has filed suit against Toyota (Prius) at the Patent Court in Dusseldorf alleging infringement of EP 0414782.

Of relevance to patent reform in the US [HR 2795], Antonov CEO, John Moore commented, "Whilst we would have preferred to reach a mutually acceptable outcome with Toyota without recourse to the courts, I am confident in the strength of our case. The strategy of pursuing the initial case in Germany ensures we can obtain a binding legal opinion at a cost that does not impact on our ability to pursue our other strategic goals." Of course, Solomon was willing to file a US case (in Tampa) over US 5,067,932.

A press release also notes:

The Company has received specialist advice from both legal and automotive industry experts and the action has been taken in Germany as the German legal system provides a relatively rapid and cost effective route to a legally binding decision. Antonov expects the Dusseldorf court to reach a conclusion within 12 months from the first hearing.

As is normal in these cases, Toyota has filed a counter action challenging the validity of the Antonov patent in the Munich Patent Court. The first hearing date for this action has yet to be set.

The case has been kept confidential to protect the negotiations on a settlement with Toyota, but these negotiations have not progressed to our satisfaction. As a consequence of the decision made today to proceed with the German litigation, Antonov must now make public the case.

The recent increase in fuel prices has given the Prius a lot of attention. Separately, one Princeton prof is predicting a huge US depression (soon) over the fuel prices.


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