Ford's New Mustang Sued for Patent Infringement

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Ford's New Mustang Sued for Infringing Patent on User Configurable Multi-Color Instrument Panel.

Frank Weyer, a patent attorney and inventor of U.S. Patent No. 5,975,728 issued on Nov. 2, 1999 announced today that he has sued Ford Motor Company for patent infringement. According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California as Civil Action No. 04-08630 CBM (SHx), the "MyColor" TM option that is part of the interior upgrade package on the highly touted 2005 Ford Mustang infringes Mr. Weyer's patent for "Method and Apparatus for Providing User Selectable Multi-Color Instrument Panel Illumination." Mr. Weyer conceived of his invention while a graduate student at M.I.T. After the U.S. Patent Office granted the patent in 1999, Mr. Weyer sent a letter to Ford and other automobile manufacturers offering to license his invention. Ford did not respond.

Now, five years later, the new Ford Mustang features a user color-changeable instrument panel lighting system Ford calls "MyColor" that Mr. Weyer claims infringes his patent. Mr. Weyer is seeking damages and an injunction that would prevent Ford from selling or delivering any new Mustangs with the "MyColor" option. Mr. Weyer, filed the complaint on October 19, 2004. Prior to formally serving the complaint, Mr. Weyer contacted Ford, and offered to reach a cooperative resolution. Ford initially requested additional time to respond, which Mr. Weyer granted. After two months without a substantive response from Ford, according to court rules, Mr. Weyer was required to formally serve Ford with the complaint.

Mr. Weyer has informed Ford's in-house counsel that he is preparing a preliminary injunction motion that he intends to file in the near future. The preliminary injunction, if granted, would immediately bar Ford from offering for sale, selling, manufacturing or delivering any 2005 Mustangs with the infringing MyColor feature. That could prove to be a disappointment for Ford, which has launched a massive media push behing the 2005 Mustang, hoping that sales of the Mustang will drive its passenger car sales as a whole.


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