Washington, DC, July 18, 2003 – The Chief Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California upheld a jury verdict in favor of Koito Manufacturing Co. of Japan, and Koito’s U.S. subsidiary, North American Lighting Co. in a closely watched patent infringement suit that had the potential of adversely affecting the entire automobile industry (Koito Manufacturing vs. Turn-Key-Tech, Docket No. 02 CV0273H).
The declaratory judgment action was brought by Koito and NAL against patent holder Turn-Key Tech LLC. According to Bill Mandir of the Washington D.C. intellectual property law firm of Sughrue, Mion PLLC, Koito’s and NAL’s lead trial counsel, "Turn-Key had accused almost the entire automobile industry of infringing this patent, and sued many different car companies. As suppliers to these car companies, Koito and NAL filed this lawsuit to protect their customers. The judge’s decision vindicates Koito’s and NAL’s products, and is likely to preclude Turn-Key from asserting these claims in other lawsuits."
The jury verdict provided that Koito, a supplier of taillight lenses did not infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,045,268, a patent directed to a method of injection molding plastic products with greatly improved strength. The patent owner, Turn-Key Tech, argued for a new trial, alleging that the evidence weighed in favor of a finding of infringement and for judgement as a matter of law that the patent was not invalid. U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn L. Huff agreed with Koito and the jury verdict that the patent was not infringed by any of the 30 accused products. The judge also upheld the jury’s verdict that the Turn-Key patent was invalid due to anticipation and obviousness. The Sughrue trial team was led by partners Bill Mandir, Frank Bernstein, Steve Gruskin and John Rabena.