Keystone Faces Additional IP Infringement Charges

December 29, 2006

On the heels of the International Trade Commission ruling in favor of Ford Motor Company against Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. earlier this month, Keystone faces another multi-million dollar lawsuit for intellectual property infringement.

In its complaint filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Dec. 1, 2006, MQVP Inc. asserts that Keystone violated MQVP’s registered trademarks by the distribution of parts outside of the MQVP program. Keystone, who was a program member for several years, dealt in parts not tracked or certified as MQVP program parts, distributing those parts as if they were actual MQVP parts. Such misrepresentation would violate the MQVP trademarks, and cause body shops and vehicle owners to mistakenly believe the parts shipped by Keystone possess the quality certification, safety, and warranty characteristics as actual MQVP parts certified and traced in the program. Keystone abruptly quit the program in November.

The charges against Keystone include false designation, false advertising, unfair trade practices, unfair competition, breach of contract, intentional interference with business expectancy, and violations of the California Business and Professions Code. MQVP Inc. requests an injunction to prevent further infringements, delivery of the misrepresented parts for destruction, and damages in excess of $20 million. While the ITC ruling in favor of Ford covers about 10 specific parts for the F-150, MQVP certification covers hundreds of part numbers, and more than a dozen manufacturers.

MQVP’s suit was filed shortly before the ITC ruling against Keystone, and served upon Keystone on Dec. 11. Keystone has not yet filed a response with the court, nor provided a public acknowledgement of the action.

MQVP Inc. is based in Troy, Michigan, and is the administrator of the Manufacturers Qualification and Validation Program (“MQVP”).

Source: MQVP Inc.

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