French inventor lands $16.7M jury verdict in engine patent suit against Hilite International

By David Yates | Mar 4, 2015

A French inventor recently raked in more than $16 million in damages for infringement of his engine part patents.

Jean Melchior filed his complaint for patent infringement against Hilite International on Nov. 9, 2011, in U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, Dallas Division.

Melchior, an engineer by profession, has engaged in the development of solutions for the improvement of combustion engines, in particular in the area of camshaft phasers.

According to the first amended complaint, Melchior owns U.S. patent Nos. 5,645,017; 5,649,506; and 5,507,254, which relate to couplings for the transmission of alternating torques in cam phasers.

Without his authorization, Hilite sold cam phasers to companies, like the Chrysler Group, which, when installed in an engine are covered by the ‘506 patent, and when operated with the engine infringe the ‘017 and ‘254 patents, the suit alleges.

Hilite, which maintains a facility in Carrollton, admitted to manufacturing components for camshaft phasers at its facility, but denied any patent infringement.

On Friday, Feb. 27, a Texas jury found that Melchior proved Hilite actively induced Chrysler to directly infringe on the patents in question, court records show.

Jurors were asked what royalty Melchior has proven that he is entitled to for the patent infringement by Hilite for sales of the fast phaser to Chrysler, awarding the French engineer $14,530,692.

They jury also awarded Melchior $2,249,172 for Hilite sales of the Fam-B to GM.

Melchior is represented in part by Dallas attorneys Thomas Wright and Alex Whitman.

Attorney John Eichman of the Dallas firm Hunton & Williams represents Hilite.

District Judge Barbara Lynn presided over the trial.

Case No. 3:11-cv-03094

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