Case Study: IP Champions For H&S Manufacturing
Innovation. A high stakes gamble.
Innovation in business has its risks. When you’re competing at the leading edge of your industry you have to be agile and attentive to what your competitors are bringing to the table. They could be gearing up to launch winner-take-all litigation. Is your legal team ready for the inevitable showdown?
H&S Manufacturing has been a client of Patterson Thuente IP’s since 1992. The company has since not only become a major player in the agricultural equipment market but also a design leader, with six granted patents for new designs of bi-fold and high-capacity rakes. Having handled everything from patent and trademark prosecution to clearance searches and IP enforcement, the firm knows H&S Manufacturing’s business and industry well. That knowledge of the business was crucial when a main competitor sued H&S in 2015.
Business Problem. H&S Manufacturing is an innovator in the $125 billion agricultural equipment industry. This third-generation, family-owned company thought it was ahead of the industry with a giant technological step forward in triple-merger harvesting machinery — until it was sued for patent infringement. What followed was a bitter battle between business people who once warmly shook hands and swapped stories at industry trade shows. The potential for a loss in court worth tens of millions in damages would have taken H&S out of the game and swept away the family legacy.
IP Solution. Trial attorneys with courtroom experience in patent infringement disputes know that the jury doesn’t read patents or study drawings — they listen to reason, look for what’s true and fair, and comprehend the value of the dollar. In H&S Manufacturing’s case, the plaintiff’s demand for millions in damages was out of line with other license agreements in the industry. Our team revealed that business reality through H&S and expert witnesses the jury trusted. In the end, it was our team’s ability to help the jury understand the underlying business and industry realities that saved the case for H&S Manufacturing.
“It was a tough case and we got the best outcome we could reasonably expect in light of some unanticipated pretrial rulings. As a former litigating lawyer myself, I know what makes for a good trial attorney. Eric Chadwick wasn’t just good, he was the best I’ve ever seen. Great trial attorneys aren’t just prepared, they go beyond prepared. Eric knew everything inside out, fashioned arguments from all angles and effectively wove those arguments into the facts. He was head and shoulders above anyone I’ve ever seen. My company, my retirement, everything was on the line. If things had gone badly, I would have been in a world of hurt. There was no one I would rather have had to represent me.”
—Chris Heikenen, Chairman and CEO, H&S Manufacturing Co. Inc.