Automotive News is reporting the International Trade Commission (ITC) has launched an investigation into patent infringement claims against Ford Motor Company. The investigation stems from claims by Maryland company Paice that the automaker stole its patents and is using them on hybrids imported from Mexico.
This isn’t the first time Paice has gone after Ford for patent infringement. The company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Ford back in 2014, which was ruled as invalid. Two subsequent appeals courts upheld the original ruling.
Paice is now going after Ford through the ITC by leveraging the 1930 Tariff Act, which provides relief for patent holders who feel that a product is being imported that uses infringed patents. Paice is specifically asking the ITC to ban Ford from importing its Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ hybrid models, both of which are built in Mexico.
The ITC investigation will go before an administrative law judge to determine if Ford really is in violation of the Tariff Act. In a statement, Ford calls the claims “unsubstantiated” and that the company plans to “vigorously defend itself.”
Paice says it worked with Ford from 1999-2004 regarding modeling certain hybrid powertrain and technology components, but that Ford ultimately decided not to license the technology from Paice.
“We trusted Ford,” Paice CEO Robert Oswald said in a statement. “Our engineers spent years sharing technical details about our patented hybrid technology with Ford in good faith — that faith was misplaced.”
Paice has filed similar lawsuits against other automakers aside from Ford. In each situation the case was settled.