Liebherr Mining settles lawsuit over copycat allegations
Equipment manufacturer Liebherr Mining is putting an end to its copycat lawsuit, reaching an agreement with a Chinese manufacturing group to officially settle the lawsuit once and for all.
According to the Daily Press, a recent joint motion filed by both sides in the federal case does not say explicitly that the state lawsuit has also been settled, however the broad language in a joint motion filed in the federal case on July 17 indicates that Liebherr and the Chinese firms have come to a mutual agreement.
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"Prior to and during the federal court action, the Parties explored different possibilities for a resolution to their dispute," Liebherr and the Chinese group wrote in a request to delay the federal case. "These efforts included private mediation which resulted in a settlement agreement between the Parties on July 13, 2015."
Although Liebherr originally filed the copycat lawsuit in 2010, the three accused Chinese firms — China Space Sanjiang Group (CSSG), Wuhan Sanjiang Import Export Co., and Aerospace Heavy Industry (AHI) Ltd. — filed their own lawsuit last year, contending that Liebherr's Circuit Court lawsuit unfairly "lumped" them into a "purportedly long-running conspiracy."
In their lawsuit, the Chinese firms declare they knew nothing about the scheme to steal Liebherr mining truck designs and had no connection with the Detroit engineering firm that contacted them in 2011 about manufacturing the mining trucks.
"If such a conspiracy existed, CSSG, Wuhan and AHI were not a part of it," said the Chinese firms' June 15 federal court filing, written by George H. Bowles with the Virginia Beach office of the Williams Mullen law firm.
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Terms of the agreement between Liebherr and the Chinese firms have not been disclosed but both have asked U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. to continue the federal proceedings until September 1 to ensure terms of the settlement agreement are met and neither side backs out.
The 2010 Circuit Court lawsuit involving Liebherr Mining accuses several former employees at its Newport News production plant stole thousands of design documetns and thens old the information to copycat manufacturers in China.
"This case involves industrial espionage of a serious and brazen nature," stated a 2013 complaint by Liebherr. "It involves the wholesale theft of trade secrets from a United States manufacturing facility and the use of these trade secrets to help multiple Chinese competitors design a competing product."
In May, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) became involved in the case when it was reported the organization had requested numerous documents from the lawsuit. The reasoning is still unclear.
(Source: The Daily Press)
Coal India Secures First-Of-Its-Kind Digital Deal
Coal India Limited (CIL) has appointed Accenture Solutions to digitally transform seven of its open-cast mines as the company strives to improve performance and increase coal production. Accenture is due to lay down digitalisation groundwork until March 2022.
The deal aims to increase coal production by 100 million tonnes (MT) by the end of FY’23. Once the minimum quantity has been surpassed, an agreed sum will be paid to the consultant for every additional sum of coal produced. This success fee will only be paid on the procurement of the minimum assured quantity.
The move will see heavy earth moving machinery (HEMM) fitted with digital sensors to monitor performance efficiency at all levels. Additionally, modern data analytic techniques aim to increase mine productivity and project monitoring through functional system management and effective observation.
An Exciting Venture For Global Mining
CIL, which aims to provide energy security in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner, hopes the move will help transform the entire business of mining operations and ensure higher volumes of coal are acquired at a lower cost.
“This is a first of its kind initiative by the company utilising digitalisation to ramp up coal output,” CIL has said.
A Digital Step Towards Enhanced Performance
Digitalisation is expected to take place at open-cast mines in Kusmunda, Gevra, Dipka of Southern Eastern Coalfields (SECL), Migahi, Jayant, Dudhichua, and Khadia of Northern Coalfields (NCL). Nearly 32% (188 MT) of CIL’s 596 MT output in FY’21 was accounted for by the seven selected mines. However, this new deal is set to see a large increase following the subsequent digital changes due to be made.
“Learning from the outcome and success of this model, we may replicate it in our other large mines,” says CIL, optimistic about the future following the modernisation of their mining.
It is expected that the move will help address roadblocks and guarantee corrective measures are put into place, ensuring the company is able to move forward with its aim of increasing output whilst remaining sustainable and eco-friendly.