On August 14, 2013, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. of Japan, Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. of Cypress, California, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. of Cypress, California, Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. of Cypress, California, and Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. of White, Georgia (collectively, “Toyo”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that the following entities (collectively, the “Proposed Respondents”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain tires that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Design Patent Nos. D487,424 (the ‘424 patent), D610,975 (the ‘975 patent), D610,976 (the ‘976 patent), D610,977 (the ‘977 patent), D615,031 (the ‘031 patent), D626,913 (the ‘913 patent), D458,214 (the ‘214 patent), and D653,200 (the ‘200 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents”):

  • Hong Kong Tri-Ace Tire Co., Ltd. of China
  • Weifang Shunfuchang Rubber & Plastic Co., Ltd. of China
  • Doublestar Dong Feng Tyre Co., Ltd. of China
  • Shandong Yongtai Chemical Group Co., Ltd. of China
  • MHT Luxury Alloys of Rancho Dominguez, California
  • Wheel Warehouse, Inc. of Anaheim, California
  • Shandong Linglong Tyre Co., Ltd. of China
  • Dunlap & Kyle Company, Inc. d/b/a Gateway Tire and Service of Batesville, Mississippi
  • Unicorn Tire Corp. of Memphis, Tennessee
  • West KY Customs, LLC of Benton, Kentucky
  • Svizz-One Corporation Ltd. of Thailand
  • South China Tire and Rubber Co., Ltd. of China
  • American Omni Trading Co, LLC of Houston, Texas
  • Tire & Wheel Master, Inc. of Stockton, California
  • Simple Tire of Cookeville, Tennessee
  • WTD Inc. of Cerritos, California
  • Guangzhou South China Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. of China
  • Turbo Wholesale Tires, Inc. of Irwindale, California
  • TireCrawler.com of Downey, California
  • Lexani Tires Worldwide, Inc. of Irwindale, California
  • Vittore Wheel & Tire of Asheboro, North Carolina
  • RTM Wheel & Tire of Asheboro, North Carolina

According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to the ornamental features of Toyo’s unique tire designs.

In the complaint, Toyo states that the Proposed Respondents import and sell tires that infringe the asserted patents.  The complaint specifically refers to the Durun Terrain Grabber M/T, Mark Ma Dakar M/T, Tri-Ace Dub, Winrum KF770, Sunny SN3890, LionHart LH-3, Lexani LX-Six, Wanli S-1089, Thunderer M/T R405, Councours A/T, and Pioneer A/T as infringing tires.

Regarding domestic industry, Toyo states that it has conducted extensive activities in the U.S. directed to tires that practice the asserted patents.  According to the complaint, these activities include manufacturing, quality control, packaging, materials and product engineering, research and development, warranty and technical support, sales, marketing, and customer service.  Toyo specifically refers to its Proxes 4, Trail Grappler M/T, Open Country A/T, and Open Country A/T II tires as products that practice at least one of the asserted patents.

With respect to potential remedy, Toyo requests that the Commission issue a limited exclusion order and a permanent cease and desist order directed at the Proposed Respondents.