MIT Professors Sue Ford For Allegedly Using Patented Tech On EcoBoost Engines

A trio of professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claim that the Ford F-Series trucks are using stolen technologies, which they invented, in their engines.

Bloomberg reports that in a lawsuit filed by the three professors on January 30, their patented dual port and direct-injection technology have been added to Ford’s line of EcoBoost engines in recent years. The inventors are requesting an unspecified share of the proceeds.

Ford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a joint energy-research program in 2007 dedicated towards furthering powertrain, fuel, and energy technologies. There was also a second initiative from MIT that paired university researchers with Ford personnel. In 2015, the partnership soured and Ford claimed that the professors were “greedy inventors” who refused to negotiate exclusive rights to license the patents.

MIT professors Leslie Bromberg, Daniel R. Cohn, and John B. Heywood claim they are the inventors of dual-injection technologies that allow for better fuel-and-air mixing and combustion stability than direct injection alternatives.

The processors transferred ownership of the technology to MIT, which then granted exclusive patent-licensing rights to Ethanol Boosting Systems, a small company founded by the three researchers. EBS offered to license patents on the dual-injection technologies to Ford in 2014, but the automaker declined.

In the lawsuit, MIT and EBS claim that despite a deal for Ford to use the patents falling through, the automaker was already starting to incorporate the technology into its latest engines. Current vehicles using Ford’s EcoBoost engine with direct-injection include not only the F-Series trucks but also the Expedition and other models.

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  • K0RNH0LI0

    So Ford pays to have the technology developed for them and these greedy professors decide that they should be able to hold the tech for ransom or sell the tech to Ford’s competitors?

    • badcyclist

      Ford did not pay to have the technology developed for them. The professors and MIT were partners, not employees, and what they invented along the way is theirs, not Ford’s.

      Why don’t you invent something, watch a giant corporation steal it and incorporate it into their products without paying you for what you did. Then come back and let us know what you think.

      • GPFan

        Do you know for a fact that your version of events actually happened? Hasn’t proceedings only just been lodged?
        Bold call to make

  • Knuckle Buck

    “The processors transferred ownership?”…you mean The Professors?

  • Tom Jahn

    Didn’t Toyota/ Lexus precede Ford in the dual injection? Just wait, these professors (certainly already wealthy) might go after yota too.

  • Nick099

    If memory serves, Ford did the same thing with the inventor of the windshield wiper.

  • schnittz

    Ford= thief’s and liars.

  • LeStori

    Only one group of winners here. Legal parasites. The group of people who create no wealth.

  • Ben

    Getcha money, pimp!

  • Gregory Krisa

    Is there really a patent on the two technologies combined
    It’s port injection what most cars run on and direct Injection to get better fuel atomization
    Combined the two and you get lots of benefits but something that naturally you can figure out and think there wouldn’t be a patent on it.
    This should be part of the way software patents work if you could naturally think of the solved problem then no patent fees collected. Really took three professors to come up with this.
    Automotive junkies thought of this as well.
    Just glad Ford put it all in one ECU so we can use a cheaper programmer to tune it then a standalone or dual standalone.

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