On 26th February, 2021 the Paris Court of Justice (Tribunal Judiciaire) found that Manitou was guilty of infringement of some JCB patent claims but not others. JCB had been claiming €190m in damages; it was awarded €150,000 plus €50,000 in legal fees.
The case concerns two specific European Patents (the 065 patent and 965 patent) held by JCB for its Longitudinal Load Moment Control (LLMC) system, introduced in 2017.
JCB has also brought infringement proceedings against Manitou, again in France, the UK and Italy, for infringement of a further European Patent (the 382 patent).
Back in February 2019, JCB was granted a preliminary injunction by a French court stopping, Manitou producing telehandlers featuring a device overly similar to JCB’s LLMC system.
Manitou said after the Paris Court of Justice ruling last month that the court’s decision effectively invalidated in its entirety the French part of one of the two patents held by JCB and also invalidated most of the claims of the French part of the second patent held by JCB.
The court found that only two claims of the French part of the second patent were infringed by three models of equipment from an old configuration, which has not been marketed by Manitou since May 2017, the French manufacturer said.
“The Court’s decision reinforces the position of Manitou, which has always contested the merits of the plaintiff’s action and the disproportionate nature of its claims,” it said, adding that it would continue to fight allegations of patent infringements.
However, JCB chief executive Graeme Macdonald rebutted: “As I have said previously, JCB will not tolerate any infringement of its intellectual property rights. It was evident to the court in 2019 that it felt JCB’s rights were appropriate to protect when it issued a preliminary injunction and instructed Manitou to cease production of certain models. For a different French court to then dismiss certain parts of our claims is difficult to comprehend, and so JCB will be appealing the decision of the Tribunal Judiciaire and continue to vigorously pursue each of the various other pending infringement claims in the relevant jurisdictions.”