JCB said it has been granted a preliminary injunction by a French court against Manitou, ordering the French manufacturer to stop producing telehandlers featuring a productivity device that is patented by JCB.
The UK manufacturer said the ruling - by the Judge at Court of the First Instance in Paris - means that Manitou cannot manufacture, sell or lease telescopic handlers equipped with the patented feature.
Manitou has appealed the ruling and said that it refers only to models that have not been in production since August 2017. It said the injunction would have no impact on its business or that of its dealers and customers.
The case relates to JCB’s Longitudinal Load Moment Control (LLMC) system, which includes a patented device that prevents unnecessary locking out of the hydraulics and giving false indications of instability when the machine is doing simple re-handling operations or travelling over rough ground.
It is this feature that the French court has ordered Manitou to cease using by 13 March. JCB said the court also ordered Manitou to pay costs in the case.
In response to JCB’s statement, Manitou said it had appealed the preliminary injunction order and stated that the ruling refers to discontinued models; ”The decision of the court…has no impact on the business of Manitou BF, its dealers or equipment users”.
It said the ruling was “wholly preliminary in nature…[and does not] prejudge the final outcome of the proceedings on the merits.”
Manitou added that the court had dismissed JCB’s application for an interim injunction on a first patent, and that the injunction refered to only the second LLMC-related patent.
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 LLMC system has sensors that monitor the weight being retained on the rear axle. If the sensors detect the rear axle weight is reducing past a pre-set threshold, then the hydraulics are gradually locked out to prevent further weight being transferred to the front. The productivity feature automatically disengages the lock out system, allowing operators to drive continuously.