DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz USA unit was sued by a closely held Ventura-based engineering company that contends the unit violated patents on fuel-emissions technology used in 360,000 vehicles. Feuling Advanced Technologies Inc. said Mercedes used its three-valve engine technology in cars beginning with the 1997 model year and in the M-class sport-utility vehicle. The technology helps auto makers meet California's stringent emission standards. Feuling filed the suit in U.S. District Court in San Diego. The company seeks the recall of 360,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles allegedly using the technology. It also asks for unspecified damages. "DaimlerChrysler believes these claims are absolutely and totally without merit," DaimlerChrysler spokesman Jay Cooney said. Mercedes-Benz's U.S. operations are based in Montvale, N.J. "Mercedes-Benz has admitted it had not performed a patent search prior to production of the three-valve engine," Feuling President James Feuling said. The Feuling company said officials from the two firms had met twice but that an agreement couldn't be reached. Feuling's three-valve patents were first filed with the U.S. Patent Office in May 1992. Four patents have been issued to date.