|Sketch of Antonov’s Gear Box|
After failing to negotiate a settlement on a lawsuit first filed in April 2005, Anglo-Dutch transmission developer Antonov plc is seeking remedy against Toyota in court, claiming that the Toyota illegally copied Antonov’s design for the driveline of the Prius and RX 400h hybrids.
The case will be heard at the Düsseldorf patent court on 22 September, and Antonov chief executive John Moore said he hoped for a ruling no later than early next summer, adding that he hoped negotiations would continue alongside the legal action. Toyota filed a countersuit in the Munich Patent Court challenging the validity of the Antonov patent.
The case relates to Antonov patent EP 0414782, originally published in 1991, for a continuously variable transmission that spontaneously establishes a transmission ratio appropriate for the power of the engine, the resistant load encountered by the output shaft, and the nature of the load.
Antonov received specialist advice from both legal and automotive industry experts and the action has been taken in Germany as the German legal system provides a relatively rapid and cost effective route to a legally binding decision. Antonov expects the Düsseldorf court to reach a conclusion within 12 months from the first hearing.
(A hat-tip to Jack Rosebro!)
EP 0414782: Gear Box with Continuously Variable Gear