Volume 38, Issue 11, November 2003
District Court Rules that There Was
No Patent Infringement by Plastpro Inc.
A U.S. district court judge has ruled that fiberglass entry doors made by Plastpro Inc. of Livingston, N.J., do not infringe a patent assigned to Therma-Tru Corp. of Maumee, Ohio.
Six years ago, Therma-Tru filed suit against Plastpro, an affiliate of Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics, alleging that Plastpro copied key aspects of its patented Fiber-Classic® products, according to a Therma-Tru press release. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Therma-Tru several patents for the Fiber-Classic door, including the patent in question in the litigation.
In his decision, John C. Lifland, judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, granted summary judgment that grained fiberglass entry door products of Plastpro do not infringe U.S. Patent No. 4,550,540 assigned to Therma-Tru.
“We are very gratified by this court decision, which reaffirms our right to continue producing the highest quality exterior doors consumers and retailers want without interference from anti-competitive lawsuits,” says Shirley Wang, president of Plastpro. “We stand by our products and our position has been vindicated.”
Therma-Tru plans to appeal the district court ruling and expects to win.
“Therma-Tru has pursued patent litigation against its competitors in the past and prevailed,” said Ernie L. Brooks, one of the founding partners of Brooks Kushman, counsel for Therma-Tru.
“Therma-Tru Doors remains committed to its litigation against Plastpro for patent infringement violations,” said Bob Doyle, senior vice president of Therma-Tru’s residential door business. “As the pioneer of the fiberglass door industry and the true innovator in the field, Therma-Tru has created the proprietary technology and door designs that make it the preferred brand among builders and remodelers. We will vigorously defend the company against those who copy our design and technology.”
Building Safety Legislation Introduced
Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) introduced the Building Security Act earlier this year, which, if passed will help to establish new standards for security in new buildings, and will also authorize research into technologies that could make buildings safer. The legislation is designed to better secure public buildings that could be targets for terrorists.
“There are more than 500 skyscrapers and 250 major arenas in the country that could be targets for terrorists,” said Edwards. “We must do more to secure them.”
Since September 11, many investigations have been conducted to try and determine if fireproofing and/or advanced structural technology could have prevented the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.
According to Sen. Edwards, most skyscrapers have not been designed to resist the threats of today’s terrorists. Advances in fire retardants, blast-resistant materials, such as laminated glass, and construction techniques could assist in making buildings safer, but are not being used in all projects. The recent legislation would establish higher standards for not only new buildings, but would also authorize research into technologies that could make older buildings safer as well.
The Homeland Security Department would lead a task force of private industry representatives, first responders and other government officials to develop the standards.
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