DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. avoided potentially long-term litigation Friday after reaching an out-of-court settlement on a patent infringement lawsuit with Paice LLC.
Both companies filed lawsuits against the other regarding a patented technology used in hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion sedan and Escape crossover.
The dispute surrounds the same patent -- U.S. Patent No. 5,343,970 -- that Paice and Toyota Motor Corp. have been litigating over since 2005. Paice holds 11 U.S. patents related to hybrid-vehicle technology.
“We are pleased to have reached an amicable resolution,” Ford and Paice executives said in a joint statement. Neither company would comment further.
Paice is an acronym for Power-Assisted Internal Combustion Engines. The patented technology uses both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor to supply torque for the vehicle.
Toyota and Paice
In the Toyota case, a U.S. District Court jury in Texas found in 2005 that a component used in Toyota's hybrids is "equivalent" to a device Paice patented in 1994. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in May 2008.
The Japanese automaker was ordered to pay royalties to Paice for the Toyota Prius, Toyota Highlander crossover and Lexus RX400h SUV.
The automaker's efforts to have the case dropped were rejected in May by a six-member panel of the U.S. International Trade Commission. An ITC hearing for Toyota is scheduled for July 19. A ban on certain Toyota imports could result from the case.