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Washington State Technology Company Sues Ford Motor Company for Patent Infringement

06-Jul-2011 | Source : | Visits : 9498
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, WA - Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC and its subsidiary and exclusive licensee, MediusTech, LLC have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Tacoma, Washington, against the Ford Motor Company for infringement of Eagle Harbor’s patents. The patents relate to several automotive technologies that are being used without authorization in Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles.

A press release by Eagle Harbor Holdings stated that the lawsuit charges that Ford has used and continues to use the companies’ patented technology in multiple vehicle systems, including SYNC, Active Park Assist, Blind-Spot Identification System with Cross Traffic Alert, Integrated Control System for Stability Control, and MyKey.

“Our representatives began meeting with Ford in 2002 to discuss and disclose our patented automotive systems technology and its applicability for use in Ford vehicles,” said Jeffrey Harmes, general counsel for Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC.

“These meetings continued until 2008, when Ford stopped communications with us. In early 2009 we informed Ford that its automotive audio systems infringed on our patents. In March 2010, we again informed Ford that its automotive electronics systems, including Ford SYNC, infringed on our patents. Unfortunately, despite our many efforts to communicate with Ford and resolve these issues, Ford continues to refuse to license its use of our patented technology. Ford is ignoring our patent rights and continues to use, without permission or license, Eagle Harbor’s technology.”

Dan Preston, Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC’s chairman and managing member is an inventor of most of the patents asserted in the lawsuit. His son, Joe Preston, is the company’s chief technology officer. Together, they were co-founders of Airbiquity, whose technologies were deployed in the General Motors OnStar system. Dan Preston is also president and CEO of MediusTech.

“Both Dan and Joe Preston have broad and deep experience in the development of patented technology that is in use in a variety of industries,” Harmes said. “Their business plan has always been to develop technologies from their inception to their commercialization, and to make them available to a broad range of consumers. It is important that their continued ability to do that, and the ability of other inventors to do the same thing, not be thwarted by the unlawful use of their ideas and patented technology. Allowing companies like Ford to ignore patent protections and profit from incorporating the technologies of others into Ford products without their permission can stifle innovations like Eagle Harbor’s that have been designed to improve vehicle safety and integrate automotive technologies into a seamless system.”

Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC focuses on a variety of technology markets such as industrial metals recovery/recycling, coal fly ash remediation, automated vehicle situation awareness, and vehicle infotainment. Collectively, Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC engineers are named inventors on more than 200 issued patents, which include technologies that have been installed in tens of millions of vehicles. Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC co-founders, Dan Preston and Joe Preston, are also founders of Airbiquity, Inc. and Medius, Inc. (Eagle Harbor’s predecessor), and are considered pioneers in the field of vehicle safety systems, telematics and infotainment. Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC affiliates include MediusTech, Elixsys, Chameleon, SenTech Systems, and AutoTalk.

The Northwater Intellectual Property Fund is an investor in MediusTech. Northwater’s Intellectual Property Fund is managed by NW Patent Funding Corporation and Northwater Capital Management Inc., a leading privately held investment management company. With offices in Toronto, New York and Chicago, Northwater focuses on investments in intellectual property and intellectual property rich companies. The Fund invested in a company called i4i Limited Partnership that was successful in a long-running patent infringement case against Microsoft in which the United States Supreme Court recently issued a unanimous opinion upholding a $290 million patent infringement verdict in favor of i4i and supporting a strong US patent system.

Eagle Harbor and MediusTech are represented in their lawsuit against Ford by Susman Godfrey L.L.P., a national litigation firm with offices in Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York.

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