Washington, DC, April 28, 2003 - A jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California returned a verdict late Friday afternoon 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 automobile industry (Koito Manufacturing vs. Turn-Key-Tech, Docket No. 02 CV0273H). The declaratory judgment action was brought by Koito and NAL against claims of patent infringement by 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, "The jury’s holding of invalidity is likely to preclude Turn-Key from pursuing other lawsuits based on infringement of its patent that it has pending against automobile industry suppliers and manufacturers."
The 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, alleged that automobile taillights manufactured by Koito were made by a method that infringed the Turn-Key patent. The seven person jury in U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn L. Huff’s court disagreed and accepted Koito’s argument that the patent was not infringed. The jury held the Turn-Key patent invalid on several different grounds, including anticipation and obviousness. The Sughrue trial team was led by partners Bill Mandir, Frank Bernstein, Steve Gruskin and John Rabena.