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Ford Faces Patent Infringement Case

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Ford Motor Co. (F) has been accused of breaching a patent on an automatic turn signal technology, according to Bloomberg. The 2008 patent related to the three-blink lane change technology is owned by Richard Ponziani.

Richard Ponziani is the former automotive design engineer for companies including General Motors Co. (GM) and Valeo SA. He filed a complaint with the federal court of Wilmington, DE.

Ford launched this three-blink technology in its vehicles in 2009. This technology is used in Ford’s F Series trucks, Taurus, Edge and Fusion models. The turn indicator is designed in such a way that it blinks three times and then automatically stops.

Recently, Ford was also accused of violating the hybrid vehicle technology patent held by Paice LLC. The technology is used in the hybrid and plug-in versions of Ford’s C-Max, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ.

Paice made its mark by discovering new ways to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions, without compromising on performance. The company had slapped similar charges against Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) and had won the case in 2010.

Ford posted earnings per share of 31 cents in the fourth quarter of 2013, in line with the fourth quarter of 2012 earnings (all excluding special items). With this, the company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 28 cents.
Revenues in the quarter grew 3.6% to $37.6 billion, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $35.47 billion. The improvement was attributable to increased wholesale volumes in the automotive business.

Currently, Ford carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked automobile stock worth considering is Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA), with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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