High court JCB/Manitou patent ruling

By Euan Youdale06 July 2022

A high court in the UK has found that Manitou infringed one of JCB’s European patents, relating to telehandler control systems, but it rejected three other claims from the company.

Yesterday’s judgment on patent EP (GB) 2 616 382, at the High Court of Justice on Manitou UK and its French parent company Manitou BF, followed a six-day hearing in London in November 2021.

The claims relate to JCB’s safety control system on its telehandler range. The UK ruling found infringement by a number of Manitou’s telehandler models depending on their date of release, including machines in its current product offering.

However, the court dismissed three other of JCB’s patent infringement applications against Manitou: European Patent EP 1 532 065 B2 (EP 065), its UK equivalent GB 2 390 595B (GB 595) and European Patent EP 2 263 965 B9 (EP 965).

Commenting on the infringement ruling, Manitou said the court held that only certain features of telehandlers sold in the past infringed the patent. “While reserving the right to appeal this judgment, Manitou confirms it does not have a significant impact on its business in the UK, nor on the business of its customers.”

The case will now be referred to a further hearing where JCB will ask the High Court to grant an injunction to restrain further infringement. JCB will also be requesting an order for the assessment and payment of damages and costs, with interest.

Manitou added that it will now seek payment from JCB of all its costs relating to the claims on its patents that were, “rejected by the Court, as well as interest on those sums.”

“As ever, the Manitou Group will continue to defend itself vigorously in the patent infringement litigation brought against it by JCB,” added Manitou.

JCB has also brought infringement proceedings against Manitou BF, in France, for infringement of the same European Patent. Those proceedings are still pending and a formal hearing is expected to take place in Paris sometime in the latter part of 2023.

JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said, “As I have said now on several occasions, JCB will not tolerate any infringement of its intellectual property rights in any jurisdiction, particularly when that involves its major competitors. JCB will always challenge any companies that seek to take unfair advantage of the very significant investments JCB undertakes in research and development to ensure it remains the leading manufacturer of telehandlers in the world.”

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