US to probe car­mak­ers over al­leged patent vi­o­la­tions

New Straits Times - - Business -

TOKYO: The United States will be­gin an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether ther­mo­plas­tic com­po­nents used in some Ja­panese and Ger­man ve­hi­cle models sold in the coun­try vi­o­late patent laws, said trade au­thor­i­ties late last week.

The US In­ter­na­tional Trade Commission (USITC) on Fri­day listed 25 firms in the probe, in­clud­ing BMW, Honda Mo­tor Co Ltd, Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp and Ja­panese parts sup­pli­ers Aisin Seiki Co Ltd and Denso Corp.

The probe was ini­ti­ated by patent hold­ing firm In­tel­lec­tual Ven­tures II, which in March filed a com­plaint al­leg­ing that ther­mo­plas­tic parts used in mo­tors, water pumps, elec­tronic power steer­ing units and other pow­er­train parts made by or used in ve­hi­cles sold by the com­pa­nies in­fringed on its patents.

The com­plaint af­fects ve­hi­cle models sold in the US, in­clud­ing the 2016 Toy­ota Camry, 2017 Honda Ac­cord and the 2016 BMW 228i.

The USITC said it would com­plete in­ves­ti­ga­tion within 45 days of start­ing the probe. Reuters

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