Panama issues fine to Bridgestone

Bridgestone Americas, the parent corporation of Bridgestone APM Co. headquartered in Findlay, faces a $5.4 million fine from Panama.

Panama’s Supreme Court ordered Bridgestone to pay the fine after the company challenged a trademark application that infringed on its intellectual property rights.

Bridgestone manufactures tires and rubber products. Its subsidiary, Bridgestone APM, specializes in the design, development and manufacturing of vibration isolation, energy absorbing pads and foam seat parts for the auto industry. The Findlay offices employ less than 50.

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are calling on the Obama administration to ensure the government of Panama treats Bridgestone Americas fairly.

“It’s outrageous that Panama has ordered Bridgestone to pay millions of dollars for simply trying to protect its own property from theft,” Brown said. “We can’t allow other countries to disadvantage American-owned businesses by treating them unfairly. The administration must protect Bridgestone’s right to defend its trademark and ensure that Panama’s government walks back its unreasonable fine.”

“The decision by the Panamanian Supreme Court to penalize Bridgestone for trying to protect its property from theft sends a powerful signal to others — even if you play by the rules, that’s no guarantee you’ll be treated fairly,” Portman said.

“I have frequently talked about the need for a level playing field for American businesses and workers and this instance is no different,” Portman said. “Companies and their workers should not be punished for acting consistently with the law. The administration has a duty to protect Bridgestone and its workers by ensuring that this fine does not stand.”



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