ERJ staff report (TP)
Los Angeles, California – Sentury Tire Americas has issued Toyo Tire & Rubber with an antitrust suit in California federal court, alleging the rival forced tire manufacturers and distributors to boycott Sentury as part of settlements that cleared up Toyo's design patent infringement suits.
The complaint accuses Toyo of including Sentury's Landsail Trailblazer CLV6 tire on a list of allegedly infringing products that settling manufacturers and distributors agreed not to sell.
Sentury alleges that after Toyo started a Section 337 design infringement investigation by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in 2013, Toyo contravened Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act by forcing respondents named in that action to enter into settlement agreements.
Sentury said these agreements stopped signatories from purchasing Sentury’s Landsail Trailblazer CLV6 tires, even though it was not named as a respondent in that ITC action and the CLV6 was not alleged by Toyo to be an infringing product.
Sentury has asked the court to order Toyo from enforcing those settlement agreements and award Sentury Tire reparation, treble damage and attorney’s fees.
As ERJ reported in July, the ITC found in favour of Toyo in its complaints of design infringements against a group of Chinese tire manufacturers and importers.
At that time, the ITC issued limited exclusion orders and cease-and-desist orders to prohibit the importation and sale of any infringing tires by these eight respondents. Each was previously found to be in default and in violation of the law.