JCB has won the first round of a telehandler patent infringement legal case brought against Manitou.
A preliminary injunction granted by the judge at the Court of the First Instance in Paris means that Manitou BF can no longer manufacture, sell or lease telescopic handlers with the Longitudinal Load Moment Control (LLMC) system from March 13, 2019.
The OEMs are in court over two alleged patent infringements, however the preliminary injunction only relates to the LLMC system. The judge dismissed JCB’s application for interim injunction relief on a second patent.
The judge’s decision also relates only to certain models produced and sold by Manitou prior to August 2017, after which they were discontinued and so the ruling will not affect the OEM’s current business plans nor its dealers or customers.
Monitoring the weight being retained on the rear axle of the off-highway vehicle via sensors, the LLMC technology can slowly lock out the hydraulics in the event that the weight is reducing past a pre-set threshold. Designed to prevent further weight being transferred from the rear to the front axle, the system is a safety mechanism to avoid incidences of JCB Loadall telehandlers tipping forward.
Enabling operators to drive continuously without a reduction in productivity, the patented feature of the LLMC system automatically disengages the device while the machine is moving. This prevents the off-highway vehicle from unnecessarily locking out the hydraulics and providing false messages when it is merely re-handling or traveling over bumpy terrain.
JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said, “We invest many millions of pounds in developing and patenting innovative and sophisticated engineering solutions which benefit our customers all over the world. We will not tolerate any copying or infringement of our intellectual property rights wherever in the world they occur.”
The preliminary injunction, which is being appealed, also requires Manitou to pay JCB’s legal costs.