Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. Awarded $1.6 Million Contempt Sanction


Two Chinese companies have been ordered to pay $1.6 million to a Foley client for violating a final judgment barring them from making and selling tires that are “confusingly similar” in appearance to a tire made by the firm’s client.

Foley’s client, Japan-based Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. and its U.S. affiliate, had sued one of the Chinese companies in 2014, claiming it had infringed on the appearance, or trade dress, of Toyo’s “OPMT” tire by making and selling a tire with a “confusingly similar” look. Later that year, a federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif., enjoined the company from selling tires similar to the Toyo tires.

In February 2015, Toyo filed another lawsuit against the same company , along with a sister company and the companies’ parent, making similar infringement claims about another tire made by the sister company. During discovery, the two sister companies admitted making, selling and exporting that model tire – which had a tread pattern identical to the enjoined tire – between January 2013 and August 2016.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney found that the gross U.S. sales of the infringing tire from the time of his March 2014 final judgment for Toyo to the last offending sale were $1.6 million. He also said Toyo could seek to collect attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Foley & Lardner represented Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. with William Robinson (Picture),Victor de Gyarfas and Jean-Paul Ciardullo.

Involved fees earner: William Robinson – Foley & Lardner LLP; Victor de Gyarfas – Foley & Lardner LLP; Jean-Paul Ciardullo – Foley & Lardner LLP;

Law Firms: Foley & Lardner LLP;

Clients: Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. ;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti