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China's Sentury Tire Suing Toyo

Sentury Tire (Americas), headquarter at Qingdao, China, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Toyo Tire and Rubber Co. and its U.S. affiliates for antitrust and unfair competition. Sentury Tire has also requested a declaratory judgment of both patent non-infringement and invalidity.

In the complaint, Sentury Tire alleges that after Toyo initiated a Section 337 design infringement investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2013, Toyo violated Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act by compelling respondents named in that action to enter into settlement agreements. These agreements prohibited signators from buying Sentury Tire’s Landsail Trailblazer CLV6 tires, even though Sentury Tire was not named as a respondent in that ITC action and the CLV6 was not alleged by Toyo to be an infringing product, stated Sentury Tire.

Sentury Tire has requested that the court enjoin Toyo from enforcing those settlement agreements and award Sentury Tire restitution, treble damage and attorney’s fees.

The U.S. International Trade Commission recently found in favor of Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. and Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. in their complaints of tread design copycatting against a group of Chinese tiremakers and importers.

In its decision, the ITC issued limited exclusion orders and cease-and-desist orders to prohibit the importation and sale of any infringing tires by eight companies. Prior to that decision, Toyo settled with 15 other tire companies. Toyo did not specify which parties settled prior to the ITC decision and which were subject to the ITC’s findings.

In addition to its ITC complaint, Toyo also filed several companion suits in Federal district court.

“We received this complaint from Sentury Tire today and we are currently reviewing it,” Julie Sediq, senior manager of marketing communications for Toyo Tire USA Corp., told Tire Review.

Tire Review