Eaton wins patent infringement lawsuit filed against Rockwell and Meritor

Thu Jul 2, 1998 -

CLEVELAND, OH.... Eaton Corporation (NYSE:ETN) today said it was "very pleased" with a Wilmington, Delaware jury’s verdict in Federal District Court yesterday that upholds the company’s claim that a truck transmission design of Rockwell International Corporation and Meritor Automotive, Inc. infringes an Eaton patent.

The jury decision included a $1.25 million award and entitles Eaton to injunctive relief prohibiting Meritor from manufacturing or selling the Meritor Engine Synchro Shift (ESS) transmission.

In its lawsuit filed on July 17, 1997, Eaton said it believed the ESS transmission infringed a patent Eaton holds on the development of a specific clutchless shifting system. The system allows shifting of heavy duty truck transmissions without requiring use of the vehicle’s master clutch. Meritor’s automotive components business was a part of Rockwell at the time Eaton filed the lawsuit.

Eaton said that, consistent with the jury’s decision, it has now applied to the court for a permanent injunction to enjoin Meritor from manufacturing or selling the ESS transmission and expects the court to issue the injunction in the near future. Additionally, Eaton said it will ask the court for treble damages, and attorney fees, consistent with the findings of the jury.

While Eaton has generally refrained from commenting on the lawsuit while it was being tried, the company had said that it had spent millions of dollars for more than a decade to develop state of the art truck transmission automation features. "We welcome fair competition in the marketplace, but we refuse to compete against our own patented technology," the company said.

Eaton’s Truck Component Operations is a global leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of drivetrain components for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

Eaton Corporation is a global manufacturer of highly engineered products that serve industrial, vehicle, construction, commercial and semiconductor markets. Principal products include electrical power distribution and control equipment, truck drivetrain systems, engine components, hydraulic products, ion implanters and a wide variety of controls. Headquartered in Cleveland, the company has 49,000 employees and 143 manufacturing sites in 26 countries around the world. Sales for 1997 were $7.6 billion.



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Renald Romain