TROY, MI — ArvinMeritor has filed a lawsuit in Charlotte, N.C., Federal Court against Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton Corp. for infringement over a transmission patent. The patent covers an ArvinMeritor transmission automation technology, which was developed for the ArvinMeritor ESS transmission, a model that has been superceded by higher technology. ArvinMeritor seeks an injunction to stop the sale of Eaton Transmission models UltraShift and AutoShift, which use this technology, as well as for damages for past infringement.
This is not the first lawsuit that ArvinMeritor has filed against Eaton for patent infringement. In May, the U.S. Patent Board of Appeals and Patent Interferences issued judgment in favor of ArvinMeritor against Eaton Corp. on all claims in two related transmission patent interferences. An interference is a court-like proceeding in the Patent Office to determine who was first to make an invention. Under U.S. law, the first to invent is deemed the owner of the patent. The interferences involved an ArvinMeritor U.S. patent on torque prediction technology.
In regard to this new filing Tom Gosnell, president of ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business group, said: “We now understand why Eaton has aggressively used the Patent and Trademark Office to obtain rights to an ArvinMeritor patent. Our company has brought real innovation to heavy-duty truck transmissions. As a technology pioneer, we developed and brought the first affordable transmission automation system to customers. ESS was later followed by SureShift.
“This is an extremely broad patent,” said Gosnell. “We believe that all of Eaton’s automated manual transmissions infringe on it. While we welcome fair competition in the marketplace, we refuse to compete against our own patented technology advancements.”
Gary Klasen, a spokesman for Eaton Corp., said the company is now in the process of reviewing the complaint.
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