Toyo Tires announced the latest victory in its continuing pursuit of infringers of Toyo’s intellectual property rights in its tires.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California on November 20, 2017 held Chinese tire manufacturers Doublestar Dong Feng Tyre Co., Ltd. (“DDF”) and Qingdao Doublestar Tire Industrial Co., Ltd. (“QDT”) in contempt for violating a 2014 Final Judgment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of tires using a confusingly similar tread to that of Toyo’s best-selling Open Country M/T. That tread design is a protected trade dress of Toyo. DDF and QDT were held in contempt for selling the AMP M/T tire, which used the Open Country M/T trade dress.
In a 32-page ruling, Judge Cormac Carney imposed $1.6M in contempt sanctions against DDF and QDT, and awarded Toyo its attorneys’ fees. The Court stated that “the Court must compensate Toyo for the injury it has suffered due to DDF and QDT’s violation of the Final Judgment.”
As part of settlement negotiations in an earlier action at the International Trade Commission against DDF and others, DDF was asked to identify which tires it was making. DDF failed to identify the AMP M/T tire, which was identical to the Mark Ma tire specifically identified in the 2014 Final Judgment. After learning in yet another case that the both DDF and its affiliate QDT had never ceased manufacturing the infringing AMP M/T tires after entry of the 2014 Final Judgment, Toyo moved for and was granted a contempt citation against DDF and QDT. Toyo will now proceed to trial against DDF on a fraud claim related to DDF’s false statements.
“We are very pleased by yet another court victory against violators of our intellectual property rights,” said Iori Suzuki, President of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. “Toyo takes infringement of its intellectual property by other companies very seriously and will continue to vigorously protect the quality of our highly-reputable products and long-established brand.”