• The Associated Press


Honda Motor Co. has won a lawsuit in Beijing against the Chinese government to restore the Japanese automaker’s motor scooter design patent, a company spokeswoman said Monday.

Honda’s patent for its popular Chinese-made Stream scooter was canceled in September when a court backed the decision a year earlier by China’s State Intellectual Property Office to revoke a patent awarded in 1994.

The Beijing High People’s Court overturned the lower court’s ruling Friday, company spokeswoman Yuriko Yabe said.

China’s intellectual property office canceled Honda’s patent after three Chinese companies argued that similar designs had been published in magazines and already were being used in China.

Japan’s No. 2 automaker in turn complained that three domestic companies had infringed on its patent by producing scooters overly similar to the Steam.

Honda filed a lawsuit in December 2001 in an effort to get the patent cancellation reversed.

A lawsuit against the three Chinese companies for patent infringement is still pending.

China is an important market for the world’s major automakers, including Honda, which operates eight joint ventures in China.

China has pledged to improve its dismal record on protecting patents, copyrights and other intellectual property since entering the World Trade Organization in late 2001.

Toyota’s U.S. plans

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its longest-operating manufacturing facility in the United States will begin assembling 68,000 four-cylinder engines annually for Tacoma pickup trucks in 2005.

The decision to assemble the engines at TABC Inc.’s Long Beach, Calif., plant is aimed at avoiding currency rate risks, Toyota officials said. The engine parts will be exported from Japan, they said.

Toyota said it will invest about $7 million in TABC for assembling the engines, but added there will be no recruiting in line with the latest step, because the truck bed production at the Long Beach plant will be moved to a plant in Mexico in 2004.

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