TMC claims Ford infringed on patented fuel system technology

Article by Anita Panait, on September 1, 2012

Ford Motor Co. is facing a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, accusing the carmaker of infringing a 2008 patent covering a fuel-injection system in its F-150 trucks. The complaint filed by TMC Fuel Injection System LLC at U.S. District Court in Philadelphia claims that Ford started selling vehicles, including the F-150, that incorporated the patent's fuel system design after informing the inventor that the carmaker had no interest in the technology.

Wayne, Pa.,-based TMC wants the court to issue an order barring Ford's conduct, in addition to unspecified damages. Ford commenced talks with Harvard-educated engineer Shou L. Hou, the patent inventor, in December 2004, more than two years after an application was filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the technology, TMC said in the complaint.

TMC added that discussions over licensing the technology collapsed in 2008, when Ford said it has no interest in pursuing the system. TMC claims that it has been "irreparably harmed" by Ford's "willful and deliberate" infringement and seeks to stop any infringement, plus compensatory and triple damages. According further to TMC’s complaint, the technology addresses performance and fuel waste by increasing the fuel injection dynamic range.

The technology offers fuel savings of as much as 35 percent in city driving and also delivers a power increase option for acceleration. Ford’s engine dubbed EcoBoost is one of the power plants available for its F150 model, Introduced in 2009, EcoBoost uses direct fuel injection and turbocharging to hike fuel economy. In 2011, Ford introduced its first EcoBoost engine for F-Series pickups. Trucks equipped with the EcoBoost accounted for 42 percent of the F150s retail sales in July 2012.

Topics: ford, patents, technology

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