Morris Material Handling Inc (P&H) filed a lawsuit against KCI Konecranes in the US District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin on 7 October alleging violations of intellectual property rights. The lawsuit also includes allegations of trademark infringement, false advertising and unfair competition.

Part of the dispute appears to be the practice of Konecranes’ maintenance business of supplying parts for Morris P&H cranes that are not made by, or authorised by, Morris. Konecranes has 70 service centres around the USA with more than 100,000 cranes under service contracts. Only about 5% of the cranes were originally supplied by Konecranes. Many were built by P&H/Morris or companies that it had since acquired.

Konecranes chief financial officer Teuvo Rintamäki told ConnectingCranes: “We are surprised. We though we had a fairly good business relationship with them. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on spare parts from Morris.” He admitted that when the quoted price was deemed too high, Konecranes would produce its own parts. “We don’t say they are genuine Morris parts. We say only that they are Konecranes heavy duty replacement parts.” Martin Ditkof, counsel for Morris, confirmed this was one issue covered in the writ, but said there were also others.

This is not the first time that competitors have sued Konecranes over its business practices. It has defended and won two court battles in Germany in recent years.