February 13, 2006

U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate hybrid patent claim

Washington, D.C. – A complaint by a Florida-based company that Toyota’s hybrid systems infringe on its patent has prompted the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to vote to institute an investigation.

Solomon Technologies, Inc. of Tarpon Springs, Florida alleges violations of the Tariff Act, stating that Toyota’s hybrid vehicles use a motor and transmission combination that infringes on a patent that Solomon owns. The company is requesting that the ITC issue an exclusion order and a permanent cease-and-desist order. If the request is successful, Toyota would be unable to import hybrid vehicles into the U.S.

In its statement, the ITC says that by instituting the investigation, it has not made any decision on the merits of the case and will refer it to an ITC administrative law judge, who will hold an evidentiary hearing.

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