Jury says Goodyear owes $64 mln in tire trade secrets case

A sign stands over a Goodyear Tire facility in Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S., July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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  • Jury said Goodyear stole Czech company’s inflation technology
  • Companies discussed collaboration on Chevy Volt in 2009

(Reuters) – Czech company Coda Development SRO won a $64 million verdict against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co on Monday, persuading an Akron, Ohio jury that Goodyear stole Coda’s trade secrets related to self-inflating tires.

The jury said Goodyear misappropriated five of the 12 alleged trade secrets Coda accused it of misusing, awarding Coda $2.8 million in compensatory damages and $61.2 million in punitive damages for Goodyear’s “willful and malicious” behavior.

Akron-based Goodyear said in a statement that it was disappointed with the verdict and will consider all of its options. The company also said the compensatory damages award was “far less than the amount Coda sought,” and the punitive damages award would be limited to $8.4 million under Ohio law.

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Attorneys for Coda declined to comment on Tuesday.

Coda first sued Goodyear in 2015, and said in its most recent 2019 complaint that Goodyear copied Coda CEO Frantisek Hrabal’s technology to keep tires inflated with an internal tube after discussing a potential collaboration in 2009 for GM’s Chevy Volt.

The lawsuit said Goodyear developed an “extensive portfolio” of self-inflating tire patents, many of which are based on Hrabal’s work.

The case is Coda Development SRO v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, No. 5:15-cv-01572.

For Coda: Leah Quadrino and Boyd Cloern of Steptoe & Johnson

For Goodyear: David Maiorana, John Evans, Calvin Griffith, Gregory Castanias and Tracy Stitt of Jones Day

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Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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