Toyota Settles Longstanding Patent Dispute Over Hybrid Vehicle Tech

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Toyota settled a longstanding patent dispute today with Paice LLC, a firm that first sued the Japanese automakers back in 2004.

The technology disputed had to do with supplying torque from both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine to a car’s wheels, according to earlier reports by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and confirmed by a Paice spokesperson today.

Paice had gone as far as asking the U.S. International Trade Comission to force Toyota to halt export of its hybrid vehicles to the U.S., where its Prius is the top-selling hybrid.

Now, Toyota will pay Paice under a licensing agreement (for which terms have not been disclosed) for patented technology which is included in the following current models and others: Prius 3, the hybrid Camry, RX-450 and the HS-250h.

Paice calls itself a “startup technology development” firm. Because it doesn’t manufacture the technology it tests, patents and promotes, many have accused Paice of being “patent trolls.”

Toyota’s settlement with Paice followed another settlement by American automakers, Ford whose Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrid vehicles, Paice alleged, had infringed on its patents.

[Image via Paul Garland]

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