Michelin prevails in IP lawsuit over Chinese KO2 imitation

Michelin prevails in IP lawsuit over Chinese KO2 imitation

A Canadian court awarded damages to Michelin over Wideway's infringement of BFGoodrich tread IP.

The Michelin Group won a lawsuit against a dealer in Canada for selling a Chinese tire that violates intellectual property rights regarding the BFGoodrich Tires All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire.  

Michelin filed the lawsuit in the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada (Michelin v. Tire Boys & Auto Service Inc., case no. SJC-52-2022). The suit alleged that the All-Terrain T/A AK3 tire sold under the Wideway brand included a virtually identical tread design to the original BFGoodrich Tires All-Terrain T/A KO tire.   

The tire also had substantially the same features as those protected by intellectual property rights for the All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire, which Michelin manufactures in the United States under its wholly-owned BFGoodrich Tires brand. DOT markings on the Wideway All-Terrain T/A AK3 tire indicate the product is manufactured in China. Tire Boys & Auto Service Inc. and Atlantic Tire King Inc. failed to appear or respond in the lawsuit, which prompted Michelin’s motion for judgment.    

From the court’s order:   

  • The defendants are no longer allowed to sell any Wideway tires.   
  •  The defendants are prevented from infringing Michelin’s “T/A trademark.” 
  • The defendants were charged $50,000 in damages for violating Michelin intellectual property rights.  
  • The defendant was charged $10,000 in costs for intentional disregard and $1,100 as compensation for disbursements.

Michelin said it takes seriously any unauthorized use or infringement of its patents, trademarks or any other intellectual property.  

Michelin previously acted in numerous other countries, alongside the North American filing, to protect its intellectual property rights from Wideway’s alleged infringement.  

The original BFGoodrich Tires All-Terrain T/A KO tire, the predecessor for the current BFGoodrich Tires All-Terrain T/A KO2 product at the center of the litigation, created and defined a new, essential category when it was introduced in 1976. Every tire is stamped with “Baja Champion” on the sidewall, representing its class-winning status in the SCORE Baja 1000. 

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