Lift manufacturers Vehicle Service Group (VSG) and Stertil-Koni USA Inc. have agreed to license patented heavy-duty vehicle lift technology to each other. The mutual licensing agreements resolve patent infringement lawsuits the companies filed against each other last year.
Under the agreements, details of which are confidential, VSG acknowledges Stertil-Koni’s U.S. Patent 8,191,865 “Device and System for Lifting a Motor Vehicle” (the ’865 patent) as it applies to Stertil-Koni’s ECOLIFT line of heavy-duty inground scissor lifts. The patent covers the ECOLIFT system, including the combination of the scissor mechanisms, carriage, cover and other parts. The Stertil-Koni ECOLIFT is the industry’s first U.S. patented, ultra-shallow, full-rise, in-ground scissor lifting system. VSG has agreed to pay a licensing fee for the use of this patented technology on its Rotary Lift EFX series of heavy-duty inground scissor lifts.
In turn, Stertil-Koni acknowledges VSG’s U.S. Patent 6,983,196 (the ’196 patent) “Electronically Controlled Vehicle Lift and Vehicle Service System.” This patent covers 19 different elements that relate to computerized lift controls, lift data display, and networking lifts together. This patented technology makes it possible to provide lift operators with valuable feedback on the status of the lift, maintenance alerts, service manuals and other information through a control panel on the lift itself. Stertil-Koni agreed, as have other manufacturers, to pay a licensing fee to use this patented technology on its mobile column lifts.
“By resolving these issues, heavy-duty lift industry leaders VSG and Stertil-Koni jointly ensure that all of our customers have access to cutting-edge lift technology,” says Kirk Dawson, vice president — heavy-duty for VSG. “This agreement will ultimately increase the number of lift options containing advanced features that enhance safety and productivity, which is in all of our customers’ best interests.”
In making today’s announcement, Stertil-Koni USA President Dr. Jean DellAmore stated: “We are exceedingly proud of our history of innovation, exemplified by ECOLIFT. We continue to implement the best and most cutting-edge concepts that can improve the industry and make the professional lives of the technicians that use our lifts better, safer and more complete. Here at Stertil-Koni, we believe we have a responsibility to advance the industry through better design. Based on this license agreement, Stertil-Koni is proud to be able to expand the benefit of the ECOLIFT design to more heavy-duty lift users in the United States and Canada.”
The two lawsuits that had been filed were: Stertil-Koni USA, Inc. v. Vehicle Service Group, LLC, 1:12-cv-02254-CCB, United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, filed on July 30, 2012; and Vehicle Service Group, LLC v. Stertil-Koni USA, Inc., 4:12-cv-00109-SEB-WGH, United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, filed on September 5, 2012.