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U.S. District Court Rules for Baker Botts Client Manitowoc in ITC Patent, Trade Secrets Investigation

DALLAS, December 20, 2017 - Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, announced another victory for firm client Manitowoc Cranes in an ongoing patent and trade secrets dispute. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled in favor of firm client Manitowoc on December 11, 2017, in its trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit against China-based, Sany Heavy Industry Co, Ltd., the sixth-largest heavy equipment manufacturer in the world, and its United States subsidiary, Sany America, Inc..

The judge’s ruling was based upon previous findings by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that were upheld by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).

"We are pleased to obtain a ruling on Summary Judgment that Sany is liable for trade secret misappropriation under Wisconsin Law,” said Baker Botts Partner David Wille, the lead lawyer on the matter. “Although there are several circuit court decisions holding that ITC decisions on other forms of unfair competition (e.g., antitrust claims) receive preclusive effect, our case was the first to hold that ITC trade secret rulings create estoppel. This is a significant development for litigation of trade secret claims before the ITC.”

Baker Botts represented Manitowoc in an ITC investigation initiated against Sany Heavy Industry Co, Ltd. and Sany America, Inc. that accused Sany of manufacturing, importing, selling for importation, and/or selling after importation crawler cranes that use certain variable position counterweight technology covered by U.S. patents and that incorporate certain of Manitowoc Cranes’ trade secrets.

In July 2014, an Administrative Law Judge determined that Sany violated Section 337 and recommended the exclusion of Sany’s product from the U.S. due to its violations. In April 2015, the ITC reached its final determination and entered a 10-year exclusion order against the Chinese crane manufacturer after finding patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. After the conclusion of the ITC proceeding, Manitowoc was permitted to pursue an action in United States District Court seeking damages and injunctive relief for Sany’s misappropriation of Manitowoc’s trade secrets.

“Despite the findings of the ITC and affirmance by the CAFC, Sany continued to deny that it had misappropriated Manitowoc trade secrets,” said Mr. Wille. “The decision this week means that Sany is both precluded from challenging the protectability of our client’s trade secrets and is liable for trade secret misappropriation under Wisconsin state law.” The case is scheduled for trial in 2019.

Baker Botts represents Manitowoc Cranes, LLC, a subsidiary of The Manitowoc Company, Inc., the NYSE-listed, U.S.-based global company specializing in crane equipment..

Baker Botts lawyers involved: David Wille (Partner, Dallas); Tom Rooney (Associate, Houston).


Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 650 lawyers practicing throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology, and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit


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