2012-10-25 / News

Patent lawsuit forces end to Jamestown-based company

Because of the “overwhelming financial burden” stemming from a 2006 patent lawsuit filed by Midtronics Corporation, Jamestown based company Argus Analyzers decided Oct. 12 to cease operations.

In a statement posted on the company’s website, Argus thanked its customers and partners for their loyal support. “We have enjoyed supplying the most accurate, reliable and cost effective battery testers available globally. We regret that Argus is no longer available to provide the products, support and service that you deserve and have come to expect. We understand that there are many thousands of satisfied customers who have a continuing need for service parts and consumables. At this time we have no information about how or where parts and consumables will be available.”

Andrew Kallfelz, a former member of the Harbor Commission, is president of Argus Analyzers. Last month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled to uphold the lower court’s decision.

“We have fought long and hard on behalf of our customers to bring truly technically advanced, high-value products into a market long dominated by a single company with dominant market share who has demonstrated a history of aggressively suing new competitors with the profits from 30-yearold technology,” Kallfelz said.

In the original decision handed down in August 2011, U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur issued findings and an opinion that he called “a complete victory in favor of Midtronics against the defendants.” Shadur found that Argus willfully infringed a Midtronics patent by importing and selling its automotive battery testers under the Argus trade name. The court issued an injunction against certain products during the life of the patent.

The U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 20 affirmed the original ruling on a “per curiam” basis without opinion, meaning the court found no new or interesting points of law or fact worthy of discussion.

While operating, Argus Analyzers sold battery monitors, testers and sensors.

“We hope you will get many years of excellent service from your Argus products, and you should continue to use them with confidence that all Argus products are free of any claims of patent infringement,” the press release read.

Said Midtronics President Steve McShane, “The court’s decision definitively validates one of our foundational patents and the strength of our intellectual property portfolio. Midtronics will vigorously defend our innovative technologies as we continue to invest in and advance battery management.”

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