Court enjoins Zisser Tire from selling infringing Wanli tires per settlement

Sept. 9, 2004

The United States District Court in Los Angeles, Calif., has entered a permanent injunction in favor of Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) and its parent company, Yokohama Rubber Co., against Zisser Tire Co. in their dress patent and trade dress infringement suit relative to the Wanli S-1099 tires.

As part of an out-of-court settlement, Zisser Tire agreed not to market and distribute the tire. It also agreed to pay an undisclosed sum of money to Yokohama. The settlement is not a court ruling on the merits of the case.

The Wanli S-1099 infringed upon Yokohama’s trademarks and patents due to its similarity in appearance to Yokohama’s AVS Sport tire, according to Yokohama. Yokohama’s original suit was against South China Tire Co., the manufacturer; Zisser Tire Corp., the exclusive U.S. distributor; and a local Los Angeles retailer. The suit against the retailer was settled earlier this year.

Yokohama’s action will now proceed against South China Tire.

"We sued all known entities who were distributing the product in the U.S.," says Jim MacMaster, YTC´s executive vice president. (R. Emmett McAuliffe, Zisser´s attorney, says the settlement only enjoins Zisser and no other U.S. entity.) "We are very satisfied with the entry of these permanent injunctions by the court and we will continue to aggressively protect our patents and trademarks.

"The appearance of the Wanli S-1099 tire in the U.S. caused confusion in the market, among dealers and consumers, which had a detrimental effect on Yokohama Tire."

Because the settlement allows it, the permanent injunction against Zisser could be lifted if South China Tire wins the case against Yokohama, added McAuliffe.