Manitowoc Cranes Files New 337 Complaint Regarding Certain Crawler Cranes

On June 12, 2013, Manitowoc Cranes, LLC of Manitowoc, Wisconsin (“Manitowoc Cranes”) filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.

The complaint alleges that Sany Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. of China and Sany America, Inc. of Peachtree City, Georgia (collectively, “Sany”) unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain crawler cranes and components thereof that infringe one or more claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,546,928 (the ‘928 patent) and 7,967,158 (the ‘158 patent) (collectively, the “asserted patents), and that were designed and manufactured using Manitowoc Cranes’ misappropriated trade secrets.

According to the complaint, the asserted patents and trade secrets generally relate to crawler crane technology.  In particular, the ‘928 and ‘158 patents relate to mobile lift cranes and methods of operating mobile lift cranes with a moveable counterweight unit.  The ‘928 invention employs a moveable counterweight unit that is part of the mobile lift crane itself.  The ‘158 invention includes a linear actuation device (e.g., a hydraulic cylinder or a rack and pinion assembly) for causing the counterweight to move.  The trade secrets at issue cover Manitowoc Cranes’ transformable variable position counterweight (“VPC”) technology, which allows a crane to be set up in different configurations for different purposes.  The trade secrets also include information relating to commercial aspects and benefits of transformable VPC technology.

In the complaint, Manitowoc Cranes states that Sany imports and sells products that infringe the asserted patents and make use of the asserted trade secrets.  The complaint specifically refers to the Sany SCC8500 Crane and components thereof as infringing products.  According to the complaint, Sany’s misappropriation of Manitowoc Cranes’ trade secrets is a coordinated effort involving a former Manitowoc Cranes employee, John Lanning.  The complaint states that Sany targeted Mr. Lanning due to his knowledge of Manitowoc Cranes’ trade secrets directed to transformable VPC technology, and that Mr. Lanning has improperly shared those trade secrets and other confidential information with Sany.

Regarding domestic industry, Manitowoc Cranes states that its Manitowoc 31000 Crane practices one or more claims of the asserted patents.  Manitowoc Cranes further states that it is in the process of developing and plans to sell in the U.S. at least two future cranes that incorporate the trade secrets directed to transformable VPC technology.  As to the economic prong, Manitowoc Cranes states that it has made significant investments in plant and equipment, a significant employment of labor and capital, and a substantial investment in the exploitation of the asserted patents in the U.S.  Manitowoc Cranes specifically refers to its facilities in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Port Washington, Wisconsin.  Manitowoc Cranes further alleges that its domestic industry has been injured by Sany’s trade secret misappropriation, including through price erosion, reduction in sales, reduction in revenue, damage to reputation, and lost market position.

As to related litigation, Manitowoc Cranes states that it filed suit alleging infringement of the asserted patents in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on June 12, 2013, contemporaneously with the filing of the instant ITC complaint.

With respect to potential remedy, Manitowoc Cranes requests that the Commission issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders directed at Sany and related entities.  Manitowoc Cranes further requests that the Commission issue orders instructing Sany and related entities to immediately and verifiably destroy all crawler cranes and related molds, tooling, and other equipment in their possession, custody, or control that make use of Manitowoc Cranes’ misappropriated trade secrets.  Manitowoc Cranes also requests that the Commission issue an order instructing Sany and related entities to immediately and verifiably turn over to Manitowoc Cranes all documents and things in their possession, custody, or control that contain or embody one or more of the misappropriated trade secrets, or any information derived from or based on those trade secrets.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.