Both the Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. have signed off on settlement with Paice LLC in a contentious patent dispute over hybrid technology.
Paice had charged both Ford and Toyota with violating a specific patent that it had owned since 1992. If the supplier’s suit had gone forward, it left open the possibility that the makers might have been barred from producing or selling their hybrid models in the U.S., including the top-selling Toyota Prius.
The terms of the agreement are confidential, though it appears to allow both makers to continue with their hybrid production and future gas-electric development plans. All lawsuits between the companies will be dismissed. Over the years, both Ford and Toyota had spent substantial sums trying to defeat Paice’s patent.
“I am happy that Toyota and Paice came to an amicable resolution on the use of my power-assisted engine invention,” said Dr. Alex Severinsky, who founded Paice in 1992. “We have long believed that hybrid vehicles represent the wave of the future for the auto industry and hope that consumers will continue to embrace hybrid vehicles as a meaningful way to reduce emissions.”