Budd, Walker defend ATM maker against foreign competitor
U.S. Reps. Ted Budd and Mark Walker joined two other North Carolina congressmen this week in prodding trade officials to rule in favor of an ATM manufacturer with a local workforce of more than 200.
The two Republican congressmen, who each represent parts of Guilford County, partnered on a letter they sent Monday to the U.S. International Trade Commission urging it to side with Diebold Nixdorf in the Ohio-based company’s patent dispute with a Korean competitor.
The manufacturer that has a plant near Piedmont Triad International Airport is locked in a patent-infringement battle with Nautilus Hyosung, a manufacturer of automated teller machines that Diebold Nixdorf claims has unlawfully copied some of Diebold Nixdorf’s patented technology.
“We understand that the commission is considering issuing an order that would effectively prevent the U.S. manufacture and sale of certain Diebold Nixdorf automated teller machines,” Budd and Walker said in the letter to the ITC, which also was signed by two other North Carolina congressmen, U.S. Reps. George Holding and Walter Jones. “Such a ruling would be inconsistent with the public interest ...”
The ITC is a quasi-judicial, federal agency that has wide-ranging responsibility in trade issues. In addition to patent infringement, the agency headquartered in Washington investigates the impact of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries, as well as conducting other investigations aimed at promoting fair trade.
Diebold Nixdorf employs 120 full-time workers at its Triad plant on Pleasant Ridge Road, along with another 100 contractors involved in supplying ATMs to the banking industry and other businesses.
Diebold Nixdorf already has won most of the patent case, proving to the ITC’s satisfaction that the Korean company improperly infringed on its patents by apparently copying some of the components used in Hyosung’s competing line of ATM equipment.
A May 19 ruling mostly in Diebold Nixdorf’s favor means that more than a dozen Nautilus Hyosung ATM models that mimic Diebold’s cash-deposit and imaging technology could no longer be imported into the United States for sale in the domestic market.
But an ITC administrative judge also took the foreign company’s side in a preliminary decision that approved a single counterclaim by Nautilus Hyosung against Diebold Nixdorf for patent infringement, while rejecting three of the Korean manufacturer’s other major allegations.
It’s that remaining allegation that Diebold Nixdorf hopes to overturn and that the North Carolina congressmen addressed in their letter, company spokesman Mike Jacobsen said Friday.
“If they find against us, we’ll deal with it,” Jacobsen said of the ITC’s pending decision on the last remaining issue. “It’s not going to force us to lay people off right away, but we do feel that it would set a dangerous precedent.”