Sealmaster’s Patent Claims Declared Invalid
Both Vinyl Building Products (VBP) Inc. of Oakland, N.J., and Silver Line Building Products Corp. of North Brunswick, N.J., have announced that courts have affirmed that
patent infringement claims made against them by Rockwood, Tenn.-based Sealmaster are invalid. Both
companies appealed the claims, which involved J-rail channels, and have now prevailed.
In 1999, Sealmaster filed patent infringement claims against several companies, including Vinyl Building Products Inc., based on two integral J-channel patents. In 2000, the District Court was asked to rule that Sealmaster LLC’s patent claims were invalid. In January 2001 the District Court agreed, ruling that except for one claim all the relevant integral J-channel patent claims were invalid. It was agreed that, on appeal, the remaining claim should rise or fall with the rest of the claims held invalid by the District Court. On April 5, 2002, the Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s decision. The Court also required Sealmaster to keep its website postings current as the company had previously sent a letter to members of the industry giving notice of its intent to pursue infringers, but neglected to post the adverse 2001 decision. According to Vinyl Building Products as of this writing, the Sealmaster’s website is no longer in operation.
In the case against Silver Line, the court granted Silver Line’s motion for summary judgment, invalidating the patents. The U.S. District Court held that windows sold by Silver Line years before the patent filings included the same integral J-rail design and therefore SealMaster’s patents were invalid.
Executives from both VBP and Silver Line applauded the decisions.
Ralph Weiss, president and chief executive officer of VBP, said, “We are very happy that the court found in our favor. We felt, and the court agreed, that the patents were invalid as being obvious in light of the technology existing long before the patents were filed. We are pleased with the decision, and we know our customers will be pleased as well.”
Silver Line chairman and chief executive officer Kenneth Silverman echoed this sentiment. “This decision is a win for Silver Line and for the window industry in general,” he said. “We are gratified not only that the Court saw the logic in our argument, but more importantly, that the judicial system worked in a manner that brings this matter to a complete and unambiguous conclusion.”
North Star Vinyl Windows & Doors of London, Ontario, as of March 11, became the first North American window manufacturer to make self-cleaning glass and low-E glass standard in all of its windows … Washington Architectural Hardware Co. recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary with newly renovated office space with more than 14,000 square feet, record sales and a secure position as one of the leading distributors of architectural hardware, said the company … Alcoa Inc. of Pittsburgh, recently completed its acquisition of the aluminum extrusion assets of Dooray Air Metal Co. Ltd. in Changwon, Korea… Dor-Lite Manufac-turing Ltd. of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, announces the integration of Edgetech Super Spacer as a standard component in its Decorative Glass Designs line and the doubling of its insulating glass warranty on decorative lites manufactured with Super Spacer to a full ten-year warranty… Security Lock Distributors of Westwood, Mass., has added HandReaders to its inventory. Made by Recognition Systems, an Ingersoll Rand company, the new system provides security by identifying a person through instant recognition of the size and shape of that person’s hand… The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) of Alexandria, Va., recently launched Build-Certified.com, a searchable database designed to enable architects, contractors and other building professionals to search local markets for industry professionals.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Powell Purchases Companies from American Architectural Products
Larry Powell, the former chief operating officer of American Architectural Products Corp., recently purchased Binnings Pan American, TM Window and Door and TM Architectural Products from American Architectural Products Corp.
The Binnings Pan American and TM factories manufacture, sell and install high-performance aluminum windows and doors and related products for the residential and institutional markets. Both Binnings Pan American and TM specialize in window and door products specifically designed and tested to meet the March 1, 2002, Florida Building Code requirements for high wind loads.
The companies will maintain their primary manufacturing facilities in Miami-Dade County and Broward County, Fla.
Strybuc Industries Purchases Two Companies
Strybuc Industries of Sharon Hill, Pa., recently announced its acquisition of Window Com-ponents Manufacturer Inc. (WCM) and Wind-Door Parts (WDP).
According to Strybuc, WCM was one of the first companies to offer window and door parts for the replacement industry in the United States and gradually gravitated to manufacturing die-cast items for awning, casement, jalousie, closet door and mobile home products. Currently, WCM also manufactures injection-molded parts, stamped items, extrusions, block and tackle balances and offers a full-time line of packaged and carded items for display.
According to Strybuc, WDP has been providing replacement parts to the glass and hardware industries for more than 30 years. Additionally, with this merger the company will continue to expand its product lines in order to furnish its customers as a single-source supplier of window and door products for both manufacturers and resellers.
Azon Celebrates 25 Years
The Azon family of companies, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich., was founded 25 years ago with the goal of assisting the world in energy conservation.
James and Ruth Dunstan founded Azon in 1977, taking an immerging pour and debridge technology and introducing it to the marketplace. The technology required a marriage of chemicals and the proper form of dispensing them in the aluminum extrusion through a full range of equipment, said company officials.
Azon also manufactures aluminum thermal barrier windows, doors and curtainwall, as well as Warm-Light™, a structural, warm-edge spacer used in the construction of insulating glass, according to the company. The combination of aluminum and polyurethane is what gives Warm-Light its strength and energy savings—both characteristics that are important in any building and climate, said the company.
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We have just learned that Door & Window Maker magazine has been awarded
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Security Lock Moves Its Headquarters
The national headquarters for Security Lock Distributors recently relocated to a new, larger facility in Westwood, Mass. The center incorporates the latest state-of-the-art technology to insure the greatest efficiency, said the company. Space in regional centers in Las Vegas, and Pompano Beach, Fla., has also been increased.
Computers Mean Business Gets $100,000 Grant
Computers Mean Business Inc. of Toronto has been awarded $100,000 from the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) of the National Research of Canada for its JQuote program. According to the company, IRAP grants awards such as this one to companies with innovative products in an effort to stimulate wealth creation through technological innovation. JQuote is a software designed for window and door configurations. It offers dealers, distributors and window and door manufacturers a cost-effective, open-architecture, platform-independent, customizable quoting program built on the latest Java technology, according to the company.
AEC Creates New Foundation
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) recently created a new entity: the Extrusion Technology for Aluminum Profiles (ET) Foundation, which will operate independently of AEC.
The purpose of the foundation is to develop, promote, provide and fund education and research related to aluminum extrusion processes and technology.
The foundation will also serve to develop and promote interest in and awareness of the field of aluminum extrusion. Funding will be provided by individual, corporate and institutional donations that are tax deductible.
Wood Windows Remain in High Demand
According to the Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), the stronger-than-anticipated housing market means wood windows will continue to maintain a strong market share, and manufacturers are capitalizing on that by introducing new styles, hardware and price points.
“Vinyl and PVC windows have seen remarkable growth in recent years, but we believe that the fast growth had ended, and their rise has stabilized,” said Alan Campbell, WDMA president. “There always is a demand for wood windows, especially in the upper-end market, but now more so in the mid-range as well.” Manufacturers have responded to this consumer interest by introducing products with more affordable pricing but that still retain the key benefits offered by high-end wood windows.
Energy efficiency remains a key selling point, Campbell adds. “There already is a strong demand for highly energy-efficient windows, and that will increase. There is growing sophistication and understanding among consumers, and their expectations for what their windows can do is rising as energy prices rise,” said Campbell.
ANSI Accredits Keystone Certification Program
The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) accreditation committee approved the Keystone Certification Program for ANSI accreditation during its March meeting; the program went into effect April 1.
The Keystone Certification Program is administered by Keystone Certifications Inc. of York, Pa. Keystone joins the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Certification Program as the only ANSI-accredited certification program for fenestration product air-water-structural performance in the United States.
The Keystone Certification Program enables fenestration manufacturers to certify that their products meet the performance requirements of the ANSI/AAMA/ WDMA 101/I.S.2-92 standard.
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