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Ford Sued Over SYNC Technology

A Washington state technology company filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Ford in federal court.

Eagle Harbor Holdings, and its subsidiary MediusTech, claim Ford used several automotive technologies in Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles without authorization.

The lawsuit centres on patents involving software and electronic components that are used in features to make phone calls, play music and access navigation tools with vocal commands, basically the SYNC technology. The patents also make possible car safety features that rely on sensors, such as parking assistance and stability control.

Eagle Harbor said that its representatives began meeting with Ford in 2002 to discuss the potential use of its patented technology in Ford vehicles, but Ford broke off discussions in 2008.

The following two years, Eagle Harbor said, it noticed Ford vehicles featured electronic systems that infringed on its patents.

The company, with just 15 employees and a small office on an island in Puget Sound, would seem to have long odds in taking on Ford.

But it is being backed by the Northwater Intellectual Property Fund, an investor in i4i, a Canadian company that was awarded $290 million in patent dispute against Microsoft that was upheld last month by the United States Supreme Court.

It is not for the first time that Ford is being sued over patent infringement issues. About a year ago, Ford settled a longstanding case brought by a Florida company, Paice, that accused Ford of infringing on a 1994 patent for hybrid technology.

Photo Courtesy of JD Hancock
Photo Courtesy of RUD66