ArvinMeritor Inc., ZF Friedrichshafen AG and ZF Meritor LLC said they are committed to a vigorous defense against the legal actions launched recently by Eaton Corporation against the three companies in connection with the ZF Meritor FreedomLine automated manual heavy truck transmission.

This is the latest in a series of patent-related legal actions that Eaton has thus far unsuccessfully taken against ArvinMeritor and related companies in its drive to secure total dominance of the North American heavy transmission market, company officials said.

Earlier this month, Eaton Corporation had filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C., requesting that the ITC initiate an investigation of ZF Meritor LLC, ArvinMeritor and ZF Friedrichshafen AG for violating the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing ZF Meritor's FreedomLine transmission system and components that infringe various Eaton patents.

Eaton has asked the ITC to issue an "Exclusion Order" prohibiting the importation into the United States of the FreedomLine transmission system and components, as well as a cease-and-desist order halting the sale in the United States of these infringing imported products.

"Eaton has a very significant share of the North American heavy truck transmissions market and their actions are the latest in a series of disruptive actions that appear to be designed to block truck operators' access to the field-proven innovative FreedomLine," said Tom Gosnell, President of Commercial Vehicle Systems, ArvinMeritor.

"ZF Friedrichshafen AG stands by its technology and we are confident that we will prevail against Eaton in their latest attempt to eliminate a viable competitor from the North American heavy truck transmission market," stated Wolfgang Vogel, Executive Vice President, Commercial Vehicle and Special Driveline Technology, ZF Friedrichshafen AG.