Thursday, October 15, 2009

[Blog Action Day] Is It the End of Toyota Prius’s Reign in the Hybrid Market?

With the growing popularity of energy-efficient and environment-friendly vehicles, many car manufacturers today are tapping this lucrative market of green cars or hybrid cars.

Toyota, one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers, has been successful in the hybrid car industry. According to reports, the company’s Prius is the best-selling car in Japan over the past several months.

In the US and in some parts of Europe, Prius is also the top choice of consumers, especially those who are worried about the high prices of gas.

However, the success of Toyota’s energy-efficient car is embroiled in a controversy.

In 2005, a federal court ordered the car manufacturer to pay Paice, a Florida-based company, with $4.8 million damages for violating the latter’s technology.
The infringed technology involves an engine that transfers force to the electric motor and internal combustion system.

In April, Paice won again in a civil lawsuit against Toyota and was awarded with royalties for all the sales of Prius manufactured from 2004 to 2009, RX 400h, and Highlander hybrids.

Meanwhile, Paice officials claim that Toyota is continuously infringing their patented technology which is still used in Prius 2010, RX450h SUV, and Lexus HS250.

The US International Trade Commission will conduct a hearing between two companies to determine if Toyota has committed another infringement.

If Toyota losses in this new case, it may face court injunction that will prevent it from selling its hybrid cars—bad news for consumers who are looking for affordable environment-friendly vehicles.