A lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles against Harley-Davidson for infringement of a patent for providing multi-colored lighting for speedometers and tachometers. The suit was filed by inventor and patent attorney Frank Weyer, who successfully sued Ford under the same patent for using a multi-colored instrument lighting system in the 2005 Ford Mustang. The suit seeks damages and an injunction prohibiting Harley from selling any more of its combination peedometer and tachometer with "color matched lighting," a $499 option available for some 2007 model year Harleys. In the Ford lawsuit, Ford decided to take a patent license early in the litigation. Patent litigation is extremely expensive, especially if large law firms are involved. ‘Running rates’ of $50,000 to $100,000 a month or more are not at all uncommon. Although law firms like litigation and the attorneys’ fees that are generated, lawsuits are bottomless money pits. There are usually 2 opportunities to settle lawsuits: at the very beginning, and at the very end, just before trial. The smart choice, when faced with a meritorious complaint, is to settle early. Ford did it. It would probably be to Harley’s benefit to do the same.