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RLS ends deal with Parker Hannifin

USA: The Missouri-based press fittings manufacturer RLS has announced that it has ended its supply deal with Parker Hannifin for the ZoomLock brand.

The patented fittings, engineered for high-pressure connections in the air conditioning and refrigeration industries, were introduced by RLS in 2015. It partnered exclusively with Parker at that time and RLS says it has since manufactured and supplied millions of fittings for Parker’s Sporlan Division to sell under the ZoomLock brand.

In a statement on Thursday, RLS said it was making the announcement “to help avoid confusion in the marketplace as to the source and quality of fittings sold under the ZoomLock brand going forward”.

RLS claims one of the reasons for ending its exclusive partnership was because it believed discounted pricing provided to Parker was not passed along to customers as intended. RLS also claims that it had learned Parker planned to source fittings for its ZoomLock brand from Conex in the UK.

RLS previously filed patent lawsuits against Conex in the United States and the UK alleging Conex infringed claims of RLS’ patents. 

In the lawsuit filed in 2018, RLS alleged that Conex’s B MaxiPro fitting infringed RLS’ patents. Conex denied infringement and alleged RLS’ patents are invalid. 

Last year, RLS and Conex agreed to settle the dispute. Conex agreed, without admitting liability or infringement, that it would stop selling the design of its B MaxiPro fitting that RLS accused of infringement in the lawsuits. Conex has changed its design.

Parker Hannifin has so far not responded to a request for comment.

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