Metso Oyj’s $31.6 million patent-infringement victory over Terex Corp. was thrown out by a U.S. appeals court that said its patent on a machine that sorts rocks and gravel was invalid.
Metso had won a $15.8 million verdict that was doubled by a trial judge based on the jury’s finding that the infringement was willful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington today reversed the verdict, saying the patent covers an obvious variation of earlier know-how. The opinion was posted on the court’s website.
The dispute is over Terex’s Powerscreen machines with a way that screens a large amount of sand and gravel into different hoppers for distribution. Metso’s invention relates to conveyors that can be folded into the side so the machine can travel on roadways.
Terex, the Westport, Connecticut-based maker of cranes and lifts, argued that the invention was little different from the older Masterskreen Dominator developed by the same inventor. The Federal Circuit agreed. It was “ordinary skill and common sense rather than innovation” that led to the patented invention, the three-judge panel said.
Metso, based in Helsinki, makes paper machines in addition to rock crushers.
The case is Metso Minerals Inc. v. Powerscreen International, 11cv1572, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Metso Minerals Inc. v. Powerscreen International Distribution Ltd., 06cv1446, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).