Ford allegedly began selling vehicles, including the F-150, that incorporated the patent's fuel system design after telling the inventor the company had no interest in the technology, according to the complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia by TMC Fuel Injection System LLC. The company, based in Wayne, Pa., is seeking a court order barring Ford's conduct, in addition to unspecified damages.
Ford's discussions with Harvard-educated engineer Shou L. Hou, the patent inventor, began in December 2004, more than two years after an application was filed to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the technology, TMC said in the complaint. Discussions about licensing the technology failed in 2008 when Ford said the company wasn't interested in pursuing the system, according to the complaint.
Saying it has been "irreparably harmed" by Ford's "willful and deliberate" infringement, TMC is seeking a halt to any infringement, plus compensatory and triple damages.
The technology addresses performance and fuel waste by increasing the fuel injection dynamic range, TMC said in the complaint. The system offers fuel savings of as much as 35 percent in city driving and also delivers a power boost option for acceleration, TMC said in papers filed with the complaint.
Ford spokesman Mike Levine said he wasn't aware of the complaint and had no immediate comment.