Attorney Says Toyota Swiped His Invention

     SEATTLE (CN) – An inventor says Toyota is knowingly violating his patent on a computerized control system for hybrid cars. Conrad Gardner, a patent attorney and engineer, claims Toyota uses his invention in its Prius, Camry and Highlander hybrids.

     Toyota rejected his offer to license the technology and is “fully aware” of the infringement, Gardner says. “For example, in a 1994 letter to Mr. Gardner, an officer of Honda Corporation advised Mr. Gardner that Honda had no interest in hybrid vehicle technology and no plans to develop a hybrid vehicle in the near future,” the complaint states. But, his complaint adds, “The Toyota Defendants first began investigating the development of a commercial hybrid automobile in November 1994, two years after Gardner had applied for his first hybrid technology patent. In fact, the USPTO rejected Toyota’s January 24, 1994 patent application for hybrid automobile technology, described in patent application ser. No. 08/185,407 on the ground that the claim was anticipated by Gardner.”
     Represented by John Hathaway, Gardner demands a restraining order and treble damages.

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