Eaton wins permanent injunction in patent infringement suit against ArvinMeritor ESS transmission


Cleveland, Ohio… Delaware U.S. District Court Chief Judge Joseph Farnan today handed down a permanent injunction in favor of Eaton Corporation (NYSE:ETN) in its patent infringement lawsuit against ArvinMeritor, Inc. The injunction prohibits further manufacture or sale of any ArvinMeritor truck transmissions that incorporate the ESS shift automation system and any colorable variations thereof. The court has yet to rule on the amount of damages due Eaton.

In its lawsuit, Eaton claimed that the Rockwell "ESS" transmission--manufactured and sold first by Rockwell, and then by Meritor and ArvinMeritor--infringed an Eaton patent which covers a specific clutch-less shifting system used in its current Eaton? Fuller? AutoShift? transmissions, as well as other partially and fully-automated transmissions in its product line. The system allows shifting of heavy duty truck transmissions without requiring use of the vehicle's master clutch. A jury verdict in favor of Eaton was entered July 1, 1998, finding that Rockwell and Meritor "willfully infringed" upon Eaton's technology.

Tim Morscheck, vice president and general manager of Eaton's Truck Electronics Systems Division, said, "We believe that the jury and the court gave careful and deliberate consideration to this case, and that the correct result was reached. We welcome fair competition in the marketplace, but we refuse to compete against our own patented technology." Morscheck also said that, while Eaton expects ArvinMeritor to appeal, it is confident that today's ruling will be upheld.

Eaton Corporation is a global $8 billion diversified industrial manufacturer that is a leader in fluid power systems; electrical power quality, distribution and control; automotive engine air management and fuel economy; and intelligent truck systems for fuel economy and safety. Eaton has 54,000 employees and sells products in more than 50 countries.


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Renald Romain