Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Deja vu: Clyde Bryant, Caterpillar, the ACERT engine and MBA/entrepreneurs

In the years 2004 and 2005, IPBiz covered the Clyde Bryant v. Caterpillar patent saga related to Caterpillar's ACERT diesel engine.
[For example,
Bryant still winning patent fight against Caterpillar
, Bryant wins first round in Caterpillar patent re-examination and

Caterpillar's US 6,688,280 to be re-examined(?); derivation issue?

Then, in 2006, in the context of a Jersey bear story [ New Jersey's Jack the Cat trees bear ], IPBiz noted:

In the last week, I had an opportunity to talk to someone about diesel soot, one of my favorite topics. He was an MBA/entrepreneur type, and mentioned how well Caterpillar had done in the IP business. I mentioned the Clyde Bryant story about how ACERT was previously invented. He didn't know what I was talking about. The thought of Clyde Bryant as "Jack the Cat" treeing Caterpillar didn't show up on his radar. It didn't show up in the Lerner/Jaffe book either. A lot of MBA types criticize the patent system without knowing quite how it works.

[IPBiz would go on to "tree a bear" in Bridgewater in 2010.]

There has been a further development in the ACERT engine story, documented by Automotive World on 17 August 2010, more than five years after the Bryant saga:

According to a report by Heavy Duty Trucking, a number of fleet owners are suing Caterpillar over alleged performance failings in the company's C15 Acert engines. A Texas lawsuit highlights problems with the C15 Acert engines produced with exhaust emissions equipment designed to meet federal limits imposed in January 2007.

The suit involves 90 Caterpillar-powered trucks run by three fleets, chronicling continual breakdowns, ineffective repairs and financial losses from disrupted operations. The fleet owners are suing Caterpillar, along with the truck and engine dealers who sold and tried to fix the defects. No 2010-spec engines are involved.

It is also reported that another suit against Caterpillar and one other builder is pending in Arkansas.

Of course, the EPA was part of the problem here. As AutomotiveWorld notes:

Many in the industry also place ultimate blame for the situation on the federal EPA, which forced increasingly strict exhaust limits on the industry in a short time frame, while dismissing warnings that the equipment devised to meet the limits couldn't be properly tested and would be very expensive.


Caterpillar formally withdrew from the North American truck-engine market in late 2009, just before the EPA's 2010 regulations took effect.

As to the EPA, they tried to protect against diesel soot [above] but they will not protect us against coal ash [for example "60 Minutes" on 15 August 2010]. They won't authorize a pesticide effective against bed bugs, so bedbugs run amok in New York City, even tagging Victoria's Secret. Go figure.

In passing, the above-noted MBA/entrepreneur had a little bit to do with the "plagiarize with pride" line that appeared in the Harvard Business Review, which line has been frequently quoted on IPBiz. IPBiz wonders what he thinks about Caterpillar's ACERT engine now [?] And, don't forget the problems in California as to CARB.

As a footnote, Clyde Bryant died in 2008.


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