Michelin North America wages battle against look-alike tires

In its continuing fight against look-alike tires that trade on Michelin expertise, Michelin North America Inc has filed suit against Dynamic Tire Corp and its president, Robert Sherkin, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. In this action, Michelin alleges copyright infringement, violations of the Lanham Act (selling under false pretenses), violations of New York law, and unjust enrichment based on Dynamic's website illustration of the Triangle TR689 tire.

Dynamic markets Triangle Tires, including the Triangle TR689, through a web site at www.dynamictire.com. Michelin alleges that Dynamic's website illustration of the Triangle TR689 tire was copied from a drawing of Michelin's XDE M/S tire. In the illustration appearing on Dynamic's website, Michelin contends that the words “Triangle” and “TR689” have replaced the words “Michelin” and “XDE M/S” that appear in Michelin's original illustration. Michelin seeks an injunction along with an award of attorneys' fees and costs.

In a related action, Michelin North America (Canada) Inc has filed suit against Dynamic and Sherkin in the Federal Court of Canada. In this action, Michelin alleges infringement of two Canadian Industrial Designs by Dynamic's distribution of Triangle TR696 tires and Triangle TR689 tires. Michelin also seeks an injunction to halt distribution of these tires along with an award of damages and costs.

These recent actions come in addition to the suit filed in the Federal Court of the Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham) in June 2005. The first action, filed against Aeolus Tire and Dynamic as well as Sherkin, president of both companies, charged patent infringement for the unauthorized use of Michelin's proprietary tread design for its XDA-HT truck tire.

The Michelin XDA-HT tire was issued US Patent number D379,607 on June 3, 1997. The knock-off tires, sold under both the Aeolus and Windpower labels, are distributed in North America by Dynamic, with offices in Canada and the United States, including Alabama where the suit was filed. The tires are produced by Aeolus Tire in China.

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