The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it will open an investigation into patent infringement claims made against Sany America by Manitowoc Cranes.
The investigation stems from claims alleging that the Chinese equipment manufacturer has infringed upon two Manitowoc patents in the design of its SCC8500 crawler crane.
The complaint to the USITC was accompanied by a lawsuit, both of which were filed June 12. The suit and complaint center on former Manitowoc and current Sany crane engineer John Lanning’s alleged misappropriation of two Manitowoc patents on counterweight systems. You can read more about those patents in our June 24 post.
Last month, Sany President President Xiang Wenbo responded to the claim and lawsuit saying the company “categorically rejects” the accusations and that “The SANY SCC8500 crawler crane was developed from start to finish by SANY engineers, using our own ideas and our own technological innovations.”
The allegations claim a violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by Sany. Should the USITC should find Sany guilty of infringing the patents in question, any and all Sany cranes in violation would meet a limited import ban.
The USITC notes that no decisions have been made on the merit of the complaint and that the next step will be to hold an evidentiary hearing at which a judge will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation. That decision is subject to review by the commission.
The USITC says that its investigation has a target for completion within the next 45 days.
The announcement from the USITC is the latest chapter in an increasingly heated battle between the two companies which started with Sany’s hire of Lanning after spending 24 years making Manitowoc an industry leader.