FLCW-Aug-19

Featured Litigation Case of the Week: August 7, 2019

MaxVal
Posted by MaxVal

In this post, we take a look at Ford’s lawsuit against New World International Inc. involving aftermarket parts for the 2004 F-150 and 2005 Mustang

Ford’s 2004 F-150 and 2005 Mustang win $2,718,451.10 in a Litigation Race Against New World International Inc.

Ford Global Technologies, LLC (hereafter “Ford”), based in Michigan, is a fully owned subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. Ford manages certain intellectual property of Ford Motor Company and its affiliates.

In 2003, Ford introduced a newly designed 2004 model F-150 truck.  In 2004, Ford introduced a newly designed 2005 Ford Mustang. For these new designs Ford invested over two years of effort and spent millions of dollars. In 2003, Ford applied for thirteen (13) design patents related to the body parts (Headlamp, Grill, Side Mirror, Bumper Fascia, Hood, Tail lamp, etc.) of 2004 model F-150 truck and 2005 Mustang.  These design patents (see table below) were granted in 2004 and 2005. 

U.S. Patent No.

Title

Ford Vehicle

D493,552

Vehicle Headlamp

2004 F-150

D496,890

Vehicle Grill

2004 F-150

D493,753

Exterior of Vehicle Hood

2004 F-150

D496,615

Vehicle Exterior Side Mirror

2004 F-150

D498,444

Front Bumper Fascia

2005 Mustang

D501,162

Front Bumper Fascia

2005 Mustang

D510,551

Hood

2005 Mustang

D539,448

Vehicle Tail lamp

2005 Mustang

D500,717

Vehicle Exterior Side Mirror

2005 Mustang

D508,223

Exterior of Vehicle Fender

2005 Mustang

D500,969

Rear Bumper

2005 Mustang

D500,970

Rear Bumper

2005 Mustang

D582,065

Vehicle Headlamp

2005 Mustang

United Commerce Centers, INC., (UCC) doing business as New World International Inc. (NWI) and Auto Lighthouse are the Defendants in this matter. Auto Lighthouse sells automotive parts and accessories on the internet for various vehicles by operating virtual storefronts on the Amazon and eBay websites under the names Auto Lighthouse Plus and Auto Body Parts Express. Defendants operate four active websites offering the sale of aftermarket automotive parts.  The websites include autobodycarparts.com, autobodypartsnow.com, Quality-Parts.com, QualityParts.us. Despite knowing of the existence of Ford’s design patents, the Defendants sold aftermarket parts for the 2004 Ford F-150 and the 2005 Ford Mustang, without labeling the parts as refurbished, salvaged or otherwise authorized by Ford. 

On September 28, 2011, Ford notified NWI about the existence of the patents-in-suit and their sale constituted an act of infringement of those patents. On November 20, 2013, NWI’s attorney responded that NWI would no longer offer the listed parts for sale, however, NWI failed to keep their word. 

On November 22, 2017, Ford filed suit (3:17-cv-03201) against the Defendants in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas for infringement of the patents-in-suit. On May 2, 2018, Judge David C. Godbey scheduled a jury trial for November 13, 2018 to allow both parties to present their evidence. The jury trial ended November 15, 2018. The next day, the jury returned their verdict stating that the Defendants had infringed all thirteen of Ford’s design patents. On March 4, 2019, Judge Godbey entered judgment in favor of Ford with a damage amount of $493,057 and $75,000 as prejudgment interest. 

Unhappy with the judgment, Ford filed an Interlocutory appeal suit (2019-1747), on April 9, 2019, to reconsider the Judgment in the Federal Court of Appeals. On the same day, a revised final Judgment was released by the District Court specifying a damage amount of $568,057, plus $41,721.60 in additional recovery, $2,108,672.50 for Ford’s attorney fees, and post judgment interest at the rate of 2.41%, compounded annually from the date of this final judgment. Further the Judge ordered a permanent injunction against the Defendants from manufacturing and selling the accused products. On July 29, 2019, Ford moved for an unopposed Motion to voluntarily dismiss the appeal case filed by them.  The Motion was granted by the Federal Court of Appeals Judge.

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