Michelin Group has filed its third suit against Dynamic Tire Corp. and its president, Robert Sherkin, related to allegations that Dynamic Tire distributes “knock-off” Michelin tires manufactured by Aeolus Tire in China. Sherkin is also the president of Aeolus Tire.
Michelin’s latest suit, filed by Michelin North America, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, alleges that Dynamic’s website illustration of its Triangle TR689 tire was copied from a drawing of Michelin’s XDE M/S tire. Michelin said the illustration of the Triangle TR689 tire posted on Dynamic’s website mirrors Michelin’s XDE M/S tire, except the words “Triangle” and “TR689” has replaced the words “Michelin” and “XDE M/S”.
“The three separate lawsuits from last June to December shows how aggressively we’re willing to pursue distributors that sell knockoffs of our tires,” said Lynn Mann, spokesperson for Michelin North America. “Michelin has been more on R&D than any other tire maker, we feel it is a competitive advantage for us. From a Michelin North America standpoint, filing actions against the distributor is the most direct path to stopping this problem.”
Michelin invests roughly $1 billion in R&D each year, the tire maker said.
According to Michelin, in June 2005 it filed a suit against Aeolus Tire and Dynamic Tire in the Federal Court of the Northern District of Alabama that charged patent infringement for the use of Michelin’s proprietary tread design for its XDA-HT tire. Tires based on the XDA-HT design were sold under both the Aeolus and Windpower brands, and are distributed in North America by Dynamic Tire, Michelin said.
After that, Michelin North America (Canada), Inc. filed suit against Dynamic Tire Corp. and Robert Sherkin in the Federal Court of Canada, alleging infringement of two Canadian Industrial Designs by Dynamic’s distribution of Triangle TR696 tires and Triangle TR689 tires. Michelin is seeking an injunction to halt distribution of those tires and an award of damages and costs.
Dynamic Tire was contacted but had no comment available as of press time.