Representing a major step in an ongoing patent dispute between Eaton Corp. and ArvinMeritor Inc., the International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued an order prohibiting the importation and sale of the Freedomline automated truck transmission and similar products from ZF Meritor, a joint venture of ArvinMeritor and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
The order, which is subject to Presidential review within the next 60 days, does allow ZF Meritor to import and sell service parts for its automated transmissions sold before April 7.
< The “exclusion order” was based on an earlier finding earlier finding by the ITC that those transmissions infringed on an Eaton patent Eaton filed 76 patent infringement claims with the ITC in 2003. In January of this year, an ITC administrative law judge ruled that the transmissions in question did violate one Eaton patent, and the following month the entire commission upheld that ruling.
The current ruling is just part of a long-standing disagreement between the two component makers involving their automated mechanical truck transmissions, ArvinMeritor filed an infringement suit in North Carolina against Eaton last year involving one of the contested patents, and that case is still pending.
ArvinMeritor has not yet issued a response to the latest ITC order.