Zinter Handling v. General Electric

Intellectual Property

New York Law Journal


Justice John Egan Jr.

Zinter Handling provided General Electric (G.E.) with cranes used in its gas turbine enclosures. Each crane was sold under a G.E. purchase order for which Zinter would prepare a drawing for G.E.'s approval. J.C. MacElroy (JCM) competes with Zinter. District court granted G.E. and JCM judgment under the Lanham Act in Zinter's suit asserting G.E.'s misappropriation and sharing of designs. Under the purchase orders' terms G.E. owned the subject drawings and could use or disseminate them as it saw fit. While appeal was pending, Zinter brought suit in state supreme court asserting state law claims arising from the same transactions. State supreme court dismissed Zinter's amended complaint as against G.E. Third Department affirmed dismissal of Zinter's contract breach claims. Noting the sale of each crane to G.E. was governed by standard terms and conditions of purchase incorporated by reference into each purchase orders, Third Department concluded that documents relied on by Zinter did not modify or supplant contractual terms governing Zinter's relationship with G.E., and that G.E. owned the subject drawings and specifications. Thus G.E. did not breach its agreement with Zinter when it shared such materials with JCM.

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