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Ford being probed after patent infringement allegations

The U.S. International Trade Commission announced recently that it will launch a probe into Ford's hybrid electric cars and their parts. The probe is occurring after two other companies filed claims against Ford that the motor vehicle giant infringed on their patents. Those two companies, Paice LLC and Abell Foundation Inc., have called for a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist. The ITC will move forward with the patent infringement probe.

Other than that, few details area available about this probe and exactly what patent is allegedly being infringed upon. It is unclear at this time what exactly is at stake, but there are certainly a couple of things to take away from this story.

The first is that companies that are accused of patent infringement don't just face serious financial penalties for their alleged behavior -- they also can suffer damage to their reputation. Sometimes, this damage lasts longer and has more an impact on the company's prospects than the financial penalties associated with an infringement case. This make defending such claims imperative.

The other lesson here is that intellectual property infringement cases can lead to many different outcomes. The case may be settled out of court; remedies, of which there are many, could be utilized to cure the infringement; and the way each company handles the fallout of an infringement case are all major factors that determine the success or failure of such a claim.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. to probe some Ford imports of hybrid electric vehicles, parts," March 7, 2017

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