Lawler Mfg. has filed a lawsuit against Bradley Corp. and a former Lawler employee alleging patent infringement issues related to Lawler’s 911 thermostatic mixing valve technology. According to the suit, “In early 1996, when Bradley realized that the new ANSI standard was proposed and that it had no product that would meet the new standard in its likely final form, that it had no thermostatic mixing valves for that matter intended for emergency applications, and that its attempts to acquire Lawler had failed, Bradley initiated plans to misappropriate Lawler’s thermostatic mixing valve technology by hiring away the sole or joint inventor in each of the Lawler patents, and using Lawler’s confidential and proprietary information and technologies in violation of the confidentiality agreements executed between Bradley and Lawler.”

The suit also alleges that “Bradley is not the rightful owner of any patent applications covering the accused products or any of the technologies, designs or concepts embodied in the accused products.” Currently, the accused products are marketed by Bradley as the Navigator series of thermostatic mixing valves for emergency applications.

In a response, Bradley announced that they have asked the Indiana Federal Court where the Lawler suit was filed to declare the essential patent for Lawler’s thermostatic mixing valve invalid. Bradley has also filed an answer to the lawsuit seeking to restrain Bradley from competing in the thermostatic mixing valve market.

“Bradley denies all claims in the Lawler action and asserts they are without merit,” Robert Binder, legal counsel for Bradley said. “In addition, Bradley has asked the court to invalidate Lawler’s principal thermostatic mixing patent on the grounds that the essential aspects of the Lawler design patent were already patented by another manufacturer over 50 years ago. The existence of the prior design was not revealed by Lawler in their patent applications process.”

Sources at Bradley said the company is continuing a full national roll-out of the Navigator line and does not foresee any delays due to the litigation.