MRO Magazine

Court ruling ends battle between eaton and parker in hydraulic connector business

The U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., has granted a permanent injunction against Parker Hannifin Corp. regarding an Eaton Corp. patent for an innovative Snap-to-Connect (STC) technology used in high-pressure hydraulic applications. Both com...


December 1, 2003
By MRO Magazine

The U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., has granted a permanent injunction against Parker Hannifin Corp. regarding an Eaton Corp. patent for an innovative Snap-to-Connect (STC) technology used in high-pressure hydraulic applications. Both companies are based in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Nov. 18, 2003, ruling prohibits Parker from manufacturing, marketing or selling its Generation II and Generation III Perma Push connectors and any colourable variations of them. In fact, Parker has already discontinued the products. Additionally, the court confirmed that two other related Eaton patents are also valid and enforceable.

Eaton filed the patent infringement suit against Parker on Aug. 15, 2000. Eaton’s patented Snap-to-Connect technology has numerous applications for mobile and industrial equipment.

In response, Parker Hannifin issued a statement to clear up any potential misunderstandings about the outcome of Eaton’s patent litigation against Parker.

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“The Nov. 18 ruling … stems from a trial held in Feb. 2003, involving a patent suit filed by Eaton over a hydraulic coupling for special mobile applications,” said Parker.

“Eaton’s suit involved three patents encompassing 80 separate claims. Parker prevailed outright in the claims for all three patents covering all current Parker products. For one discontinued Parker product, Eaton prevailed in three of 80 patent claims.

“In court, Eaton sought $3 million to pay attorneys’ fees incurred for a ruling of less than $50,000 in damages. The court denied Eaton’s $3 million request on the basis that Parker acted in good faith, and did not copy Eaton’s product.

“The outcome of the case was that Parker maintained its right to sell its own patented technology, including products improved with a safety feature to prevent accidental disconnects. Parker agreed to pay the damages amounting to less than $50,000 to bring closure to the matter.”

Parker says that none of its products will need to be removed from the market as a result of this ruling.