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Tire Troubles

Toyo Alleges Foul on Competitors

Larry Jewett - September 17, 2013 09:27 AM

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Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. and its affiliates ("Toyo") announced today that on September 16, 2013, the United States International Trade Commission ("ITC") voted to institute an investigation against 22 manufacturers, importers and sellers of passenger and light truck tires (collectively, the "Respondents").
The ITC will investigate whether these Respondents infringed one or more of Toyo's eight tire design patents.
The ITC has ordered that an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain passenger and light truck tires. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ALJ will set a target date for completing the investigation. The ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Commission investigations are usually completed in 13-15 months.
Toyo, which markets and sells tires under the "Toyo Tires®" and "Nitto®" brands, has over the years developed and introduced passenger and light truck tires with designs that are both innovative and unique, many of which are protected by design patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
As part of Toyo's efforts to protect the company, its customers, and associates from unfair competition, Toyo chose to protect its intellectual property rights by filing a complaint with the ITC. The investigation instituted by the Commission, based on that complaint, will determine whether exclusion orders are warranted. An exclusion order will prohibit the entry of infringing tires into the United States. Toyo also seeks cease-and-desist orders against the domestic respondents, which will prohibit multiple activities, including the domestic sale of infringing tires that have already been imported.

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