Jury Awards Wirtgen $12.9M Against Caterpillar in Milling Machine Lawsuit

A federal jury sided with Wirtgen America in its patent infringement lawsuit against Caterpillar over its road milling machines, awarding the company $12.9 million in damages, according to Reuters.

The companies have been locked in a seven-year legal battle in the U.S. District Court in Delaware, both claiming patent infringement.

The legal battle began in 2017 when Wirtgen, whose parent company is John Deere, sued Caterpillar claiming infringement on 13 of its patents. Caterpillar countersued, alleging Wirtgen infringed on three of its patents for its cold planers.

Judge Joshua D. Wolson ruled January 4 that Wirtgen did not infringe on two of Caterpillar’s claims on one of its patents. He also ruled that Caterpillar did not infringe on one claim on one of Wirtgen’s patents.

That left the remaining claims left to a jury to decide. The judge determined that because both companies’ experts offered conflicting testimony, he could not rule on the other claims being considered.

According to Reuters, the jury decided that Caterpillar infringed on five of Wirtgen’s patents.

Germany-based Wirtgen, with North American headquarters in Tennessee, alleged that Caterpillar bought two Wirtgen milling machines, a W 210i and a W 120, which it took apart and analyzed. Caterpillar then began importing Cat PM600 Series, PM800 Series and PM300 Series models into the U.S. that contained Wirtgen’s patented devices that are found on its milling machines and recyclers, the suit alleged.

Caterpillar denied any infringement on Wirtgen’s patents and made infringement claims of its own for three of its patents. It issued the following statement:

“We respect the jury’s verdict and will review our legal options.”

Since the case was filed in 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in 2019 that Caterpillar infringed on three Wirtgen patents. Judge Wolson, however, ruled in January that was not enough for him to issue a decision for summary judgment. The jury trial began February 13 and ended February 22 with the verdict.  

Equipment World is seeking comments from Wirtgen’s lawyers and will update the story when provided.

For more details on the case, see Equipment World’s previous coverage by clicking here.