Claims Revived in Hyundai Mobis Airbag Patent Case

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By Tony Dutra

Hyundai Mobis Co., automotive parts supplier to Hyundai Motors, will have to defend against a claim of infringement of more airbag patent claims after an appeals court ruling April 24 ( Autoliv ASP, Inc. v. Hyundai Mobis Co. , 2017 BL 133076, Fed. Cir., No. 2016-1895, 4/24/17 ).

A partial reversal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit revived eight claims of Autoliv ASP Inc.‘s U.S. Patent No. 7,614,653. The court agreed with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s interpretation of questionable claim terms. However, it said, the board erred in its validity analysis by overreaching in finding the same airbag cushioning invention in an earlier Japanese patent. The Japanese patent’s solution for redistributing airbag gas and venting it differed from Autoliv’s claimed approach, the court said.

The court, though, affirmed invalidity of another 11 patent claims directed to a feature that holds the folds of the airbag cushion membrane in place before the bag is deployed.

Autoliv also asserted a patent on related technology, U.S. Patent No. 7,347,450, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alabama. Hyundai Mobis challenged 14 claims of that patent at the PTAB as well. In that case, though, the PTAB found in favor of Autoliv on all claims. The Federal Circuit affirmed that ruling March 7, without opinion.

The district court case had been stayed pending the appeals court’s two decisions. Autoliv ASP, Inc. v. Hyundai Mobis Co., No. 2:13-cv-00141 (D. Ala.). Absent Supreme Court intervention, Hyundai Mobis will now face trial for infringement of the valid claims of the patents.

Judge Todd M. Hughes wrote the court’s opinion, which was joined by Judges Kathleen M. O’Malley and Evan J. Wallach.

Alston & Bird LLP, Atlanta, GA, represented Autoliv. Mayer Brown LLP, Washington, represented Hyundai.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Dutra in Washington at adutra@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek at mwilczek@bna.com

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