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Jury awards Rockwell $10.1m in patent dispute with Wago

23 October, 2012

A US jury has awarded Rockwell Automation $10.1m after deciding that the German automation manufacturer Wago Kontakttechnik and its US subsidiary had sold industrial control systems and PLCs (programmable logic controllers) that infringe a Rockwell Automation data storage patent.

The jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin issued its verdict on 15 October, 2012, deciding that certain Wago products infringed 10 claims of US Patent Number 6,801,813.

The verdict follows an earlier allegation by Wago that Rockwell Automation had infringed aspects of its own US Patent Number 5,716,241, issued in 1998, which relates to I/O devices for data buses configured as series terminals with built-in electronics (bus terminals). Earlier this year, a US district judge rejected a Rockwell objection about the wording of the Wago document. 

The 6,801,813 patent, granted to Rockwell in 2004, covers “a system and method for employing a file system and file system services on the industrial controller. The file system allows industrial control programs to implement many functions previously performed within the industrial control program and stored in the same memory as the industrial control program. An execution engine is provided that interprets instructions included in an industrial control program. The instructions utilize services in the file system for including user defined routine files loaded from local or remote locations, to load and unload recipe files from local and remote locations, to log and retrieve measured data and trend data to files at local or remote locations, to select different operating systems and to select a running program from a plurality of running programs utilizing the file system.”

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