Unfair tread practice: Bridgestone files suit against low-cost manufacturer

Tire giant claims competitor treads on its patent

In a federal lawsuit filed last week, Nashville-based Bridgestone is claiming a discount competitor has ripped off a tread design.

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations filed a patent infringement and unfair trade practices suit against TreadWright, a manufacturer of low-cost tires which recently relocated its headquarters from South Dakota to Houston, claiming the company copied the distinctive tread design on its Dueler A/T Revo tire, which is protected by a 2003 patent.

Bridgestone says TreadWright initially used the design on its Sentinel tire and says it issued a cease-and-desist letter to the company in 2013. The company stopped selling that tire, only to release a new tire, synonymously called the Watchman, which had the same tread design.

Bridgestone is seeking a permanent injunction against TreadWright, destruction of the tires, molds and marketing materials, profits from the sale of the Sentinel and Watchman, plus damages. The company is being represented locally by Bob Boston and Heather Hubbard of Waller.

On a related note, two other Bridgestone-related IP cases have come to a conclusion: A suit filed by the company's tire-capping arm, Bandag, against local van rental company Bandago has been settled with an undisclosed resolution and a third case, filed by Bridgestone against a Wisconsin company selling post-factory lettering kits, also has been dismissed, with the Wisconsin company agreeing to stop selling the kits and destroying the remaining stock.