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JCB and Manitou end legal battle

Dec 19, 2023 | Construction, News, Specialist Plant & Fleet

JCB and Manitou end legal battle

Construction, News, Specialist Plant & Fleet

JCB and Manitou had been in dispute about telehandler designs, with the British manufacturer alleging that the French company had copied patented safety technology of its telescopic handlers.

JCB initiated legal action in France, the United Kingdom and Italy in May 2017, alleging that four of its patents had been infringed.

In 2019 JCB secured a preliminary injunction, although Manitou claimed that it had ceased production of the offending models in August 2017.

The dispute was over JCB’s Longitudinal Load Moment Control (LLMC) system and the validity of four patents that JCB had registered for it.

LLMC prevents forward tipping by using sensors to monitor the weight bearing down on the rear axle. If the sensors detect the rear axle weight is reducing past a set threshold, then the system gradually locks out the hydraulics to prevent further weight being transferred from the rear axle to the front, therefore avoiding the machine tipping forward. To allow operators to drive continuously without any loss of productivity, JCB patented a feature that automatically disengages the device when the machine is moving. This feature prevents telehandlers unnecessarily locking out the hydraulics and giving false indications of instability when the machine is simply re-handling or travelling over rough ground.

Manitou’s case was that the patents were not valid because JCB’s technology was not innovative – it was essentially no different to soft-stop systems patented in the USA by Kruger and in Japan by Tadano.