A redesign of the FreedomLine truck transmission imported and sold by ArvinMeritor and ZF Friedrichshafen AG does not infringe upon an Eaton Corp. truck transmission patent, according to a ruling by an International Trade Commission (ITC) administrative law judge.
The Freedomline transmission was redesigned to comply with an earlier ITC ruling.
ArvinMeritor and ZF said they are “delighted” with the latest ruling. "We were confident that the re-design did not infringe on the 279 patent, and the ruling has certainly verified our position in serving customers," stated Wolfgang Vogel, executive vp, Commercial Vehicle Transmissions, and a member of the management board of ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Eaton said it is disappointed with the judge’s decision, and pointed out that it was an “initial determination” that may be subject to review by the full ITC. Eaton said seeking a full ITC review is one of their options, and they are currently assessing their next action.
The FreedomLine automated mechanical transmission was introduced in North America in 2001.
In a related federal district court case, Eaton maintains that ZF’s FreedomLine transmission system infringes upon the Eaton transmission patent in this ITC case and several other Eaton patents.