Toyota loses $4.3 million patent appeal for hybrid technology

Chris Rizo May 12, 2008, 5:00pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a $4.3 million award against Toyota Motor Corp. for using another company's patented technology in its hybrid vehicles.

Without comment, the high court declined to hear an appeal by Toyota to overturn the damage award given to Paice LLC of McLean, Va.

An appeals court recently told a trial judge to reconsider a ruling that made Toyota pay $25 for every Prius, Highlander and Lexus RX400h sold using the disputed technology.

The technology involves a microprocessor that accepts torque information from the internal combustion engine and the electric motor.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, Toyota said Paice was a "patent litigation company," attempting to "impose a royalty toll on the Prius and similar Toyota hybrid vehicles based on an obscure patent."

Urging the justices not to hear the case, Paice said the market for hybrid cars "did not take off" until Toyota "revamped its vehicle program" with technology Paice patented almost a decade earlier.

The case is Toyota Motor v. Paice, 07-1120.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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