TROY, MI — The U.S. Patent Board of Appeals and Patent Interferences has issued judgment in favor of ArvinMeritor against Eaton Corp. on all claims in two related transmission patent interferences. The decision was rendered on April 29.
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. Torque prediction is an enabling technology for some automated transmissions.
In December 2003, Eaton Corp. filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, DC, requesting that the ITC initiate an investigation of ZF Meritor LLC, ArvinMeritor and ZF Friedrichshafen AG for violating the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing ZF Meritor’s FreedomLine transmission system and components that the company said infringe various Eaton patents.
That same month ArvinMeritor and ZF Friedrichshafen AG announced they were committed to a vigorous defense against the legal actions launched by Eaton, in connection with the FreedomLine automated manual heavy truck transmission. The FreedomLine transmission, one of the most advanced, automated transmission designs in North America, is protected by numerous patents worldwide.
“This is another significant legal victory for ArvinMeritor and our second successful defense against Eaton’s legal assaults on our transmission business,” said Tom Gosnell, president of ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business group. “Eaton’s unsuccessful effort to seize our torque prediction patent further validates our position as the technology leader in this product. As we’ve said repeatedly, we’ll continue to aggressively defend all of our product technology.”