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Old 02-14-2019, 07:09 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Ford Sued by Three MIT Profs about EcoBoost Technology

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Ford Sued by Three MIT Profs about EcoBoost Technology


Ford's F-150 EcoBoost models are the subject of a lawsuit filed by three MIT professors.

According to a newly filed lawsuit against Ford, the automaker “boosted” the technology used in newer versions of its famed EcoBoost engines from a trio of professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ford introduced EcoBoost to the world in 2009, suggesting the turbocharger-based system would allow smaller engines to provide big power while retaining their ability to use less gas. While the public initially played wait-and-see with the technology, it’s now spread across Ford’s engine offerings like ivy on a brick building.

The automaker and university have a long history together, and the lawsuit suggests Ford may have taken advantage of that relationship. The MIT professors claim the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is using its dual port- and direct-injection technology without permission for its EcoBoost and 5.0-liter V8 engines produced in recent years.

The three professors, Leslie Bromberg, Daniel R. Cohn, and John B. Heywood, worked on technology surrounding internal combustion engines, and claim to have invented the dual-injection system.

Ford Motor Co. declined to comment on the lawsuit filed by three MIT professors.

Naturally they formed a company, Ethanol Boosting Systems LLC, and offered to license five patents to Ford in 2014, according to the lawsuit, but negotiations broke down and Ford declined to license the patents. However, the company was already incorporating the technology into future editions of the engines.

Though Ford denied using the technology, the professors point to a press release Ford issued less than two years later for its 2018 F-150 that boasted of “advanced dual port and direct-injection technology.”

It was used on 3.5-liter EcoBoost engines and other engines that are available in the F-150, Expedition and other vehicles.

The feature was on the 3.3-liter EcoBoost V6, which, Ford said, “adds dual port and direct-injection technology to deliver more power and torque than the previous 3.5-liter V6, plus improved projected EPA-estimated gas mileage — a win-win for customers.” The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and the 5.0-liter V8 also received the technology for 2018.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:35 AM   #2
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I’m going to say that this is likely a money grab scheme.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:49 AM   #3
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People who stay in academia after PhD programs are the definition of a people who aren't in it for the money...
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by godfather2112 View Post
I’m going to say that this is likely a money grab scheme.
Meh, either Ford is infringing their patents, or they aren't. I'm a bit skeptical that multiple MIT professors would start multi-million dollar lawsuits against a company with as big of pockets as Ford has in bad faith.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:08 AM   #5
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Almost every ICE engineer at Ford goes through an Internal Combustion class. The class is taught using the book by Heywood. The same class has been taught for like...forever. Same class, same book. Everyone I knew at the company had good respect for Heywood. The guy is a genius after all.

I was skeptical about the lawsuit until I saw Heywood's name in it. It might have some merit. Time will tell though.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SoapBox View Post
Meh, either Ford is infringing their patents, or they aren't. I'm a bit skeptical that multiple MIT professors would start multi-million dollar lawsuits against a company with as big of pockets as Ford has in bad faith.
You have your answer....this is precisely why they started their lawsuit. This will not get far.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by drummerboy827 View Post
People who stay in academia after PhD programs are the definition of a people who aren't in it for the money...
They are in it for the fame, and from that comes money. The more you discover, publish, and patent the more "valuable" you become and the more they pay you to remain linked with their institution. I suspect they are all well-paid, so the lawsuit likely has merit as they don't "need" money.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:53 AM   #8
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question is why now? Why wait until now to file this. Ecoboost has been around for a long time. So has dual injection for that matter.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by godfather2112 View Post
I’m going to say that this is likely a money grab scheme.
Given the documented timeline, I don't think that's the case at all

https://www.autonews.com/technology/...awsuit-charges

MTI/EBS - Hey ford look at this cool stuff. Want to patent it with us and share the patent.

Ford - Send it over and we will take a look

Later

Ford - Naw, we aren't interested

MTI/EBS - OK, then we will get a patent through the University
Ford - Puts stuff in their cars before the patent can be fully filed
EBS - Sues Ford
Ford CEO "You are just greedy inventors!!"


These three have like 300 Automotive patents between them. And are directly involved in having direct injection in modern cars.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerboy827 View Post
People who stay in academia after PhD programs are the definition of a people who aren't in it for the money...
MIT professors aren't broke teachers who can't make it in the real world, like at some other colleges. MIT professors are generally very well off through means other than their salary as a teacher. These guys have deep pockets, and are very well connected to lawyers capable of winning a case against Ford.

ibmultiplemilliondollarsettlmentonthehush.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:43 PM   #11
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Nothing is free and these relationships are a two way street. Without a legal system in place to put a check on both inventors and investors the whole thing collapses. What I wanna know is if the 3 claimants were gagged from sharing and profiting from their system with other companies while Ford lolligagged with bean counters to make it practical for their consumer applications.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhoward1 View Post
Given the documented timeline, I don't think that's the case at all

https://www.autonews.com/technology/...awsuit-charges

MTI/EBS - Hey ford look at this cool stuff. Want to patent it with us and share the patent.

Ford - Send it over and we will take a look

Later

Ford - Naw, we aren't interested

MTI/EBS - OK, then we will get a patent through the University
Ford - Puts stuff in their cars before the patent can be fully filed
EBS - Sues Ford
Ford CEO "You are just greedy inventors!!"


These three have like 300 Automotive patents between them. And are directly involved in having direct injection in modern cars.
Actually, if they shared the designs / idea with Ford prior to filing the patent it changes everything. My employer tells us not to discuss any new ideas with customers until after our patent team can review and determine whether or not we can apply for a patent. If yes, then application first and share with customer later. If you disclose first you may not be allowed a patent or the coverage / restrictions for use are less thorough.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:53 PM   #13
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We need to see more technical details. What exactly did they patent that's different from what say Toyota is doing? Some detail of the injector design or positioning? What is even "patentable" for this? a 100 years ago Henry Ford fought against a guy who tried to patent the entire concept of a car.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:54 PM   #14
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Interesting, wonder how much this differs from Toyota's D4S type injection system which was implemented before the "ecoboost" and Coyote V8 engine applications?

(Ah, the post above mentions Toyota too. Damn my slow typing...)
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:03 PM   #15
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This should be interesting. Unless there's some sort of trick that has to be done to cylinders or fuel system I don't know how far their patent could go here seeing all manufacturers have the technologies available and it's just a matter of designing the cylinder heads and managing individual fuel systems accordingly. Maybe the port injectors are special? No idea really but as has been said this was done before Ford did it.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD View Post
This should be interesting. Unless there's some sort of trick that has to be done to cylinders or fuel system I don't know how far their patent could go here seeing all manufacturers have the technologies available and it's just a matter of designing the cylinder heads and managing individual fuel systems accordingly. Maybe the port injectors are special? No idea really but as has been said this was done before Ford did it.
One of the patents in play:

Quote:
High compression ratio, high power density homogeneous charge compression ignition engines using hydrogen and carbon monoxide to enhance auto-ignition resistance
Given the players I bet they have a unique way of handling Fuel/air mixtures in both high compression and alternate fuel situations, including flex fuel requirements.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:37 PM   #17
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but Ford doesn't have an HCCI engine in production...

and Ford did have a program for making a turbo engine that run on gasoline but injected ethanol (E85) for knock reduction. They released multiple SAE papers on it. It never made it to production, and Congress has moved away from flex fuel subsidies/credits.
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