CHICAGO – Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, today announced a victory on behalf of its clients, ZF Friedrichshafen AG and ArvinMeritor, Inc., distributors of the FreedomLine™ heavy duty truck transmission systems. The companies were respondents in a Section 337 patent infringement matter before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C. The complaint had sought penalties in excess of $40 million, all of which were denied.
“It appears that this is the first time in the 75-year history of the ITC’s Section 337 investigations that an Administrative Law Judge has ruled for a respondent in an enforcement proceeding,” said Gary M. Ropski, President of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione. “We are very pleased that Judge Paul Luckern has ruled in favor of our clients. His decision affirms our clients’ belief that their redesigned system does not infringe Eaton’s patents.”
In December 2003, the Eaton Corporation, a manufacturer of automotive and truck products, asserted that the FreedomLine transmission infringed six different Eaton patents. After a 10-day hearing in September 2004, Judge Luckern ruled in favor of ZF and ArvinMeritor on all but one of the 76 asserted claims. The ITC agreed. In response, ZF engineers redesigned the FreedomLine system in compliance with the ITC decision and ZF continued to import the redesigned transmissions.
The judge’s latest ruling holds that the redesigned FreedomLine system does not infringe the last of Eaton’s 76 patent claims, which means that Eaton has failed to stop the importation and sale of FreedomLine transmissions. The Brinks trial team included Gary M. Ropski, Laura Beth Miller, Thomas J. Filarski, Charles M. McMahon, Raymond R. Ricordati and Timothy J. Le Duc with assistance from co-counsel, Lyle Vander Schaaf and Cory Norton of Bryan Cave LLP in Washington D.C.
Based in Germany, ZF Friedrichshafen AG is one of the world’s leading automotive industry suppliers specializing in driveline and chassis systems. With more than 54,500 employees in 125 facilities located in 26 countries, ZF’s revenue in 2004 totaled €9.9 billion. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.zf.com.
ArvinMeritor is a premier global supplier of a broad range of integrated systems and components to the motor vehicle industry serving light vehicle, commercial truck, trailer and specialty original equipment manufacturers and certain aftermarkets. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, ArvinMeritor employs more than 29,000 people in 120 facilities located in 25 countries. ArvinMeritor’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ARM. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.arvinmeritor.com.
Founded in 1917, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is based in Chicago with three other offices across the United States and serves the intellectual property needs of clients from around the world. The firm is one of the largest IP law firms in the U.S., with more than 150 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and unfair competition, licensing agreements, technology, nanotechnology and bio-pharma work, intellectual asset management and intellectual property litigation. Visit the firm online at www.usebrinks.com.