Patent upheld, retrial ordered in measuring machine case

The jury in a San Diego federal court hearing the patent-infringement case of Hexagon-owned Romer Inc. vs. Faro Technologies Inc. (two makers of portable coordinate measuring machines) found in favor of Romer that its U.S. Patent No. 5,829,148 is valid. However, the same nine-member jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on infringement, so the trial judge declared a mistrial and ordered a new shortened trial with a new jury to decide the infringement issue. The new trial is scheduled to commence on April 3, 2007.
The patent dispute involves a key feature that allows the articulated arms on coordinate measurement machines to rotate and swivel indefinitely without encountering hard stops. Engineers use such measuring devices to design and inspect a variety of manufactured products.
"The court's decision makes it clear that Hexagon failed to prove its case that we infringed," said Jay Freeland, president and CEO of Faro.
Ola Rollen, CEO and president of Hexagon AB, said his company has a research and development budget close to 10 percent of sales and a portfolio of more than 1,500 active patents, so the company takes patent infringement seriously. He also said that Hexagon has a principle to enforce its rights as far as patents are concerned.

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