Hybrid powertrain inventor Paice LLC has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against BMW AG, claiming the German carmaker is using its technology illegally.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Paice by Abell Foundation Inc., a charitable foundation and co-owner of Paice’s patents. The companies, which are located in Baltimore, Md., previously have prevailed in similar lawsuits involving Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Volkswagen Group.
The new complaint claims that Paice detailed its technologies to BMW beginning in the early 2000s, when the carmaker was still skeptical about hybrid powertrains. But after launching and soon canceling a costly hybrid architecture co-developed with DaimlerChrysler and General Motors, BMW began illegally using Paice’s more efficient system, according to the lawsuit.
The filing says BMW currently uses Paice designs in eight of its hybrid and plug-in hybrid BMW- and Mini-brand models. The complaint demands that BMW negotiate a license for the hybrid designs it is using.
For conducting business in the U.S. market, Toyota has historically had several separate business entities: a sales and distribution company headquartered in California (Toyota Motor Sales, USA); manufacturing operations (Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America); a racing subsidiary (Toyota Racing Development, USA); the Toyota Technical Center for R&D in Ann Arbor; and a design facility in California (Calty Design Research, Inc.). On April 1, 2006, Toyota merged its R&D operations and its manufacturing operations into a single company.
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