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Honigman Intellectual Property Team Secures Significant Victory for Neapco Holdings in Patent Infringement Dispute

October 3, 2019

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a 2-1 decision upholding a trial court ruling in favor of Honigman client Neapco Holdings LLC (Neapco) that patent claims asserted by American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) were not patent-eligible and therefore invalid. The decision represents a significant victory for Neapco.

AAM asserted patent claims covering liners inserted into drive shafts for the purpose of damping noise and vibration. Neapco responded by, among other things, challenging the validity of the patents, contending that the patent claims attempted to cover a natural law, and therefore were not eligible for patent protection.  

The Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed the invalidity of American Axle’s patent claims asserted against Neapco.

Neapco manufactures drive shafts for sale to global automotive manufacturers.

Michael Huget, Chair of Honigman’s Litigation department, applauded the result.  “This is a great win for our client Neapco. The Court’s decision is well-reasoned and applies established precedent that patents simply seeking to monopolize laws of physics should not be valid.” 

The Honigman attorney team included Dennis J. Abdelnour (who argued on appeal), Huget, and Sarah E. Waidelich.

Honigman is the only law firm in Michigan ranked “Band 1” in Intellectual Property by Chambers USA: America’s Leader Lawyers for Business.