Toyo Going After Knock-Off Producers, Sellers - Tire Review Magazine

Toyo Going After Knock-Off Producers, Sellers

Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. has filed a formal complaint against 22 tiremakers and tire importers, accusing them of violating the company’s U.S. design patent held on various passenger and light truck/SUV tires.

The complaint was filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission, and states that the “Respondents have engaged in unfair trade practices by importing into and/or selling within the U.S., tires that infringe eight U.S. design patents held by Toyo.”

The tiremakers identified by Toyo were primarily based in China, and include Doublestar Dong Feng Tyre Co.; Guangzhou South China Tire & Rubber Co.; Shandong Linglong Tyre Co; Shandong Yongtai Chemical Group Co.; South China Tire & Rubber Co.; and Weifang Shunguchang Rubber & Plastic Co. One maker from Thailand named in the action was Svizz-One Corp.

Importers named in the action include American Omni Trading Co.; Dunlap & Kyle/Gateway Tire; Lexani Tires; MHT Luxury Alloys; RTM Wheel & Tire; Simple Tire; Tirecrawler.com; Tire & Wheel Master Inc.; Turbo Wholesale Tires Inc.; Unicorn Tire Corp.; Vittore Wheel & Tire; West KY Customs; Wheel Warehouse Inc.; and WTD Inc. China-based distributor Hong Kong Tire-Ace Tire Co. was also named.

Toyo noted that the alleged violated patents cover its Nitto Trail Grappler M/T, Proxes 4 and Open Country A/T lines.

Tires subject to the complaint include the Durun Terrain Grappler M/T, Mark Ma Dakar M/T, Tri-Ace Dub, Winrun KF770, Sunny SN3890, LionHart LH-3, Lexani LX-Six, Wanli S-1089, Thunderer M/T R405, Concours A/T and Pioneer A/T.

“Toyo, which markets and sells tires under the Toyo and Nitto brands, has over the years developed and introduced passenger and light truck tires with designs that are both innovative and unique,” the company said in a statement. “Toyo is taking this step to protect the company, its customers and associates from unfair competition by enforcing its intellectual property rights.”

Toyo is seeking exclusion orders “that would bar from entry into the U.S. infringing tires that are imported by or on behalf of Respondents,” as well as “appropriate cease-and-desist orders prohibiting certain activities, including the domestic sale of infringing products that have already been imported.”

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