Toyota Sued For Infringing Vehicle Audio-Related Patents

On Wednesday in the Western District of Texas, MicroPairing Technologies filed a complaint against Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas for infringing its patents via the Entune system, which purportedly utilizes the plaintiff’s patented vehicle audio system patents.

The patents-in-suit are United States Patent Nos. 6,629,033 (the ’033 patent); 6,778,073 (the ’073 patent); 7,793,136 (the ’136 patent); 8,380,383 (the ’383 patent); 8,953,816 (the ’816 patent); 9,697,015and 8,583,292. Toyota’s vehicles, namely, the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks, have the purportedly infringing Entune “infotainment system.”

For example, claim 1 of the ’816 patent describes “a method of operating a vehicle audio system having a wired audio source, a display, multiple speakers and a logic circuit configured to: sense the availability of a wireless audio device that is located within or proximate to the vehicle; identify a wireless audio device record from among a plurality of different wireless audio device records previously identified and stored in memory … download a copy of a second software application selected from the memory and process data from the wireless audio device with the second software application; provide a user with an option to direct sound from the wireless audio device through at least a first one of the speakers of the vehicle audio system or back to a speaker in the wireless audio device.”  

According to the complaint, “Toyota Texas has infringed and continues to infringe” the’816 patent by “making, offering to sell, selling, testing and/or using Toyota Tundras and Toyota Tacomas with the Entune 3.0 infotainment system.” Specifically, as identified in the claim chart, Toyota’s Entune system contains an “integrated multimedia navigation and telematics system” which works with bluetooth, Apple Car Play, and Android Auto. It also has a touchscreen display used to operate the system, a set of speakers, and wired audio sources, as well as a “main microprocessor and many other processors (which) are integrated into a multiprocessor system composed of many logic circuits.” These items are reportedly part of the patented system. 

Furthermore, the Entune system can allegedly detect devices via Bluetooth and it will purportedly save registered devices to automatically connect if the device is nearby and turned on. Additionally, the claim chart states that many different wireless devices, such as smartphones can be connected and paired to the Entune Bluetooth system; this pairing allegedly creates a device record to identify each unique device and the smartphone’s software apps, such as music and phone, can be paired to play via Entune. 

The plaintiff stated that Entune’s Bluetooth feature, Display, and software allows a user to control the phone and phone call functionality of the phone via Entune. For example, a user can make a phone call via voice control and if the user was playing music the music would be interrupted during the call, but play once the call ended. Entune also allegedly allows a user to pick between a handset mode or the speaker system, as described in the patented claim. Consequently, MicroPairing Technologies averred that, as previously described, the Entune system purportedly infringes all of the points of claim 1 of the ’816 patent. Therefore, Toyota has reportedly infringed this patent.

Toyota was accused of direct and induced infringement. The plaintiff sought declaratory judgment in its favor, an award for damages, an award for royalties, pre and post judgment interest, an award for costs from the court. 

MicroPairing Technologies is represented by Nelson Bumgardner Albritton PC.