Ford Sues Hybrid-Technology Supplier Paice Over Patent Pact

Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, sued hybrid-technology partner Paice LLC, asking a judge to force Paice to comply with a patent agreement.

Ford, the Dearborn, Michigan-based maker of the Fusion hybrid car, said three years ago it settled a dispute between the companies by licensing some of Bonita Springs, Florida-based Paice’s patent-protected inventions for drivetrain technology.

In today’s suit, Ford seeks an order forcing Paice to fully comply with an arbitration agreement and not to sue Ford for patent infringement, according to papers filed today in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington.

Under the 2010 agreement, Ford was to pay an undisclosed sum for means to supply torque to a car’s wheels from both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, the companies said at the time.

Alex Severinsky, a Soviet immigrant who began his career developing antitank-warfare instrumentation, founded Paice in the 1990s, developing a high-voltage method to power gas-electric vehicles that he contends is the basis for modern hybrid technology.

The bulk of the new case was sealed by a judge, and only a summary was available.

Paice’s executive chairman, Frances Keenan, said in an interview from the company’s Baltimore office that she hadn’t seen the complaint and couldn’t comment on it.

The case is Ford v. Paice CA9143, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

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