Ovonic Battery Files A Lawsuit Against Matsushita Battery

ECD's Ovonic Battery unit files patent infringement suit on Ovonic hybrid electric vehicle batteries used in Toyota Prius.

Published: 06-Mar-2001

TROY, Mich., March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. ("ECD") (Nasdaq: ENER) announced today that its subsidiary, Ovonic Battery Company, Inc. ("Ovonic Battery"), has filed suit in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Matsushita Battery Industrial Co., Ltd. ("MBI"), Toyota Motor Corporation, Panasonic EV Energy Co., Ltd. and several related entities for infringement of patents held by Ovonic Battery.

MBI and Panasonic EV Energy Co. supply Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries used in the Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid car sold in the United States by Toyota Motor Corporation. The lawsuit charges that MBI's hybrid electric vehicle batteries, battery components and battery systems infringe patents held by Ovonic Battery.

In addition to filing suit, Ovonic Battery today terminated a 1992 agreement which licensed MBI under patents held by ECD and Ovonic Battery for the manufacture and sale of small consumer batteries. MBI had breached that agreement by failing to pay millions of dollars in royalties to Ovonic Battery. In its lawsuit, Ovonic Battery seeks damages for those unpaid royalties, and also seeks to enjoin the importation of all Panasonic electronic products that contain batteries using Ovonic Battery's patented technology. MBI and its related companies annually sell hundreds of millions of batteries and electronic products principally under the Panasonic name which use Ovonic Battery's patented technology.

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