WASHINGTONToyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against 22 manufacturers, importers and sellers of passenger and light truck tires, alleging they have engaged in unfair trade practices by importing into and/or selling in the U.S. tires
that infringe eight U.S. design patents held by Toyo.
Toyo requests that the ITC issue exclusion orders that would bar from entry into the U.S. tires that infringe its patents. Toyo also seeks appropriate cease-and-desist orders prohibiting certain activities, including the domestic sale of infringing products that already have been imported.
The claims primarily involve tread and/or sidewall design patents, according to the complaint, which cites six Chinese tire makers, one Thai tire maker, 14 U.S.-based tire distributors and one China-based distributor as the offending parties.
The complaint identifies 11 individual tire brands and models as those that allegedly violate Toyo's patents: Concours A/T; Durun Terrain Grabber M/T; Lexani LX-Six; LionHart LH-Three; Mark Ma Dakar M/T; Pioneer A/T; Sunny SN3890; Thunderer M/T R405; Tri-Ace Dub; Wanli S-1089; and Winrun KF770.
Toyo claims these products infringe on patents used in making its own Toyo Open Country A/T and Proxes 4 and Nitto Trail Grappler M/T lines.
The Chinese tire makers identified by Toyo are: Doublestar Dong Feng Tyre Co. Ltd.; Guangzhou South China Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.; Shandong Linglong Tyre Co. Ltd.; Shandong Yongtai Chemical Group Co. Ltd.; South China Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.; and Weifang Shunguchang Rubber & Plastic Co. Ltd. The Thai tire maker is Svizz-One Corp. Ltd.
U.S.-based tire distributors identified in Toyo's complaint are: American Omni Trading Co.; Dunlap & Kyle/Gateway Tire & Service; Lexani Tires Worldwide Inc.; 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.
Toyo also identified one overseas-based distributor: Hong Kong Tri-Ace Tire Co. Ltd. of China.
Toyo said it is taking this step to protect the company, its customers and associates from unfair competition by enforcing its intellectual property rights.
The tire maker does not ask for any specific monetary judgment, other than to ask the ITC to: Grant all such other and further relief as it deems appropriate under the law, based upon the facts complained of herein and as determined by the investigation.
The complaint is signed by Toyo Tire Holdings President Noriyuki Dan.
Toyo Tire Holdings is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. The company and its affiliated units manufacture, import, sell and distribute Toyo- and Nitto-brand tires in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.