Transtex Composite announced on Friday that the company has filed a claim for patent infringement against Ridge Corp. The claim was filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. It alleges infringement of eight patents related to aerodynamic trailer side skirt technology including trailer skirts and trailer skirt securing mechanisms, as well as other system components. Transtex is seeking injunctive relief against the infringement as well as enhanced damages.
Transtex provides the Maximum Flex Skirt (MFS Skirt), an aerodynamic trailer side skirt designed to allow for up to 7.3% in fuel savings, according to the company. The side skirt is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay verified technology and also complies with California Air Resources Board requirements. Transtex’s complete line of products also includes the Ultra-Light & Tough trailer doors (ULT) and the Punctureless Wall Protector,a wall enhancement to protect trailer interiors from potential perforations resulting from loading operations.
Ridge Corporation also offers an aerodynamic side skirt called Green Wing, as well as dry and refrigerated freight wall liners.
“Intellectual property is something we take very seriously as we believe breakthrough innovations will occur only if IP rights properly protect significant investments in research and development,” Patrick Beauger, executive vice president at Transtex noted. “Products infringing on our patents are being sold and we are taking action against such infringement.”
The EPA has verified several categories of aerodynamic trailer technologies: trailer gap reducer and trailer side skirts (used in combination with one another); trailer “boat tail” and trailer side skirts (used in combination with one another); advanced trailer end fairings; and advanced trailer skirts. Both Transtex’s trailer skirts and Ridge Corp.’s Green Wing are on the trailer side skirts verified list, along with eight other products.
According to EPA, “Aerodynamic technologies minimize drag and improve air flow over the entire tractor-trailer vehicle. Aerodynamic technologies include gap fairings that reduce turbulence between the tractor and trailer, side skirts that minimize wind under the trailer, and rear fairings that reduce turbulence and pressure drop at the rear of the trailer. Using fairings in combination with one another (or, in a few cases, when used alone) have the potential to provide an estimated 5% or greater reduction in fuel use relative to the truck's baseline, when used in conjunction with an aerodynamic tractor on long haul Class 8 trucks, in highway type operation.”
Demand for aerodynamic devices, including side skirts, has been growing as fleets work to reduce fuel costs by all practical means, from changing equipment specs to driver behavior management, optimized loading and routing and careful preventive maintenance practices.