U.S. to investigate Japanese, German automakers concerning patent violations

United States International Trade Commission (USITC)

The United States will begin an investigation into whether thermoplastic elements utilized in some Japanese and German vehicle models sold in the country violate its patent laws, trade authorities stated recently.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) on Friday noted 25 companies in the investigation, including BMW, Honda Motor, Toyota Motor, together with Japanese parts providers Aisin Seiki and Denso Corp.

The probe was started by patent holding firm Intellectual Ventures II, which in March submitted a complaint alleging that thermoplastic parts utilized in motors, water pumps, electronic power steering units and other powertrain parts made by or utilized in cars sold by the companies infringe on its patents.

Used in parts which are available in contact with high-temperature vehicle components, thermoplastics are more lightweight and long lasting compared with other materials used in vehicle powertrains, assisting to increase efficiency and enhance fuel economy.

The complaint impacts automobile models sold in the United States consisting of the 2016 Toyota Camry, 2017 Honda Accord and the 2016 BMW 228i, as per the patent company.

The USITC stated it would set a target date to finish its investigation under 45 days of starting the investigation.

Shares in Honda and Toyota were little altered throughout the Tokyo session on Monday.

A Toyota spokeswoman refused to talk about the problem, while officials in Japan at BMW, Honda, Aisin and Denso were not available for remark.

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