Michelin North America has filed suit against Tri-Ace Wheel & Tire Corporation and its Black Bear USA affiliate, a company based in Houston, Texas, for importing and selling a Chinese counterfeit tire that violates patent protections for the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2.
Michelin filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston division (Michelin North America, Inc. v. Tri-Ace Wheel & Tire Corporation, case no. 4:19-cv-04884).
In its complaint, Michelin alleges that the Black Bear All-Terrain II tire from Tri-Ace features a virtually identical tread design with substantially the same features as those protected by patents for the All-Terrain T/A KO2, which Michelin North America manufactures in the USA under its wholly owned BFGoodrich Tires brand. DOT markings on the Black Bear All-Terrain II tire indicate the product is manufactured in China.
“Today’s KO2 is unmatched for driver loyalty, cultural off-road relevance and expert recommendations. The product and its legacy represent the achievement of many years of technical development in the Michelin organization,” said Harold Phillips, global general manager for BFGoodrich Tires brand.
“Many competitors have tried and failed to match its capabilities. Michelin will aggressively defend KO2 against Chinese impostors, and any illegal use of our intellectual property.”