Yokohama wins tireless legal bout

FULLERTON, Calif. — Yokohama Tire Corporation has reached a final settlement agreement with Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber pertaining to design patent infringement, with Hangzhou agreeing to destroy the manufacturing molds and remaining inventory of its Westlake H280 tires.

In September 2006, Yokohama Tire Corporation – and its parent company The Yokohama Rubber Co. – initiated legal proceedings against China’s Hangzhou alleging, among other claims, a violation of Yokohama’s tire tread design patent which protects some of its best-selling brands, including the Geolandar A/T+II.

"When another company encroaches on our intellectual property, we’ll passionately defend our rights," says Jim MacMaster, Yokohama executive vice-president, business fivision. "Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. However, our success in this grievance against Hangzhou shows other tire manufacturers that, when it comes to stealing our industry-leading tire designs, we’ll assertively enforce our patent and trademark rights."

Highlights of the settlement include: Hangzhou must destroy manufacturing molds of the Westlake H280 tires and provide Yokohama with an affidavit confirming the destruction and a clear photo of the destroyed molds; Hangzhou must stop all shipments and sales of the Westlake H280 tires worldwide and destroy any remaining inventory of the tire; and Hangzhou must pay Yokohama a cash settlement.

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