Initial ruling issued in Manitowoc and Sany patent lawsuit

By D.Ann Shiffler29 July 2014

A closely guarded secret in the lead up to the show was Manitowoc’s new 650 tonne capacity MLC650 la

A closely guarded secret in the lead up to the show was Manitowoc’s new 650 tonne capacity MLC650 lattice boom crawler. It has a maximum load moment of 3,887 tonne-metres, increasing to 9,052 tonne-me

United States International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge David P. Shaw has issued an initial determination that Sany Heavy Industries infringed patents owned by Manitowoc Cranes.

The notice of Initial Determination in Certain Crawler Cranes and Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-887) was dated July 11, 2014. The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Manitowoc Cranes, LLC alleging violation of Section 337 of the Tariff ACT by Respondents Sany Heavy Industry Company Ltd. and Sany America, Inc., in the importation into the United States and sale of certain crawler cranes and components that infringe on one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,546,928 (the ‘928 patent) and 7,967,158, and that were designed and manufactured using Manitowoc Cranes’ misappropriated trade secrets.

According to the notice, the judge determined Section 337 was violated. Specifically, the judge determined that Manitowoc demonstrated that “certain accused products infringe claims of the ‘928 patent,” and that Sany engaged in the “misappropriation of certain asserted trade secrets” owned by Manitowoc.

In a press release dated July 23, 2014, Manitowoc stated “Manitowoc is pleased by the Judge’s favorable ruling and looks forward to receiving the Commission’s final order later this year. The notice issued by the Judge released only limited information. The company will provide additional information once the public version of the Final Initial Determination is issued.”

The complaint centers on Manitowoc’s Variable Position Counterweight (VPC) system, which was first patented for the company’s Model 31000. Manitowoc contends that Sany’s SCC8500 crawler infringes on its patents related to the VPC system.

In an exclusive Guest Comment in the June issue of American Cranes & Transport, Larry Weyers, Manitowoc executive vice president, said, “What we are doing to protect our intellectual property and trade secrets is important for Manitowoc Cranes, but I believe it is also good for the industry as a whole.”

Weyers went on to say, “We strongly felt we needed to enforce our intellectual property via our ITC complaint. At Manitowoc Cranes, one of the things we do well is innovate with respect to features of crawler cranes, and we will defend our intellectual property for our designs.”

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