Volume 48, Issue 3- March 2013
Reaches Settlements with Creditors, Pending Court Approval
Vitro S.A.B. de C.V. has announced that company officials have entered into settlement agreements with creditors and an investment company in hopes of ending all litigation between Vitro and certain creditors in Mexico and the U.S. over the past two years, and allowing the company to complete its restructioning process.
Under the settlement agreement, Fintech Advisory Ltd., an investment company, will purchase from the members of the Ad Hoc Group all of their holdings of bonds and pay to the Indenture Trustees and the Ad Hoc Group members an amount to cover fees, costs and expenses incurred by the Indenture Trustees and the Ad Hoc Group members.
The parties also have agreed to consensually dismiss all suits, actions and appeals between and among them in Mexico and in the United States, according to Vitro.
Under Vitro’s agreement with Fintech, the investment firm “will acquire the substantial majority of the bonds from the non-consenting creditors, will relinquish the legal actions against Vitro and its subsidiaries in the U.S. and Mexico associated with these bonds and will consent to the Concurso Plan that was approved by the Federal Courts of Mexico, in respect of these bonds and claims.”
Additionally, Vitro officials say they will cease their collection actions in Mexico for costs and damages against the non-consenting creditors and drop the lawsuits it filed in the U.S., thus ending all legal proceedings against them.
Finally, Fintech will receive shares of a wholly owned subsidiary of Vitro, representing up to 13 percent of its equity and a note for $235 million (U.S. dollars) with a two-year maturity, which will be issued by the subsidiary.
In other news in the Vitro case, Mexico’s First Civil Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of the State of Nuevo Leon recently ruled in an appeal filed by Pilkington. Pilkington had filed an appeal in the case alleging that the company’s Extraordinary General Shareholder Meeting of Vitro Plan S.A. de C.V., held December 8-11, 2006, was invalid. The court, however, ruled that the meeting—and the decisions made during the meeting—were valid and has ordered Pilkington to pay legal expenses for the judgment, according to a statement from Vitro.
During the 2006 meeting, Vitro shareholders approved a merger of Vitro creditors with Viméxico S.A. de C.V. The merger allowed Vitro’s flat glass unit to reduce its debt by $135 million (U.S. dollars), but diluted Pilkington’s shares, according to Vitro.
Pilkington officials had not yet responded to requests for comment at press time.
View Responds to Patent Infringement Allegations
Sage had alleged that View infringed on both its patent no. 5,724,177 (the ‘177 patent), titled “Electrochromic Devices and Methods,” and no. 7,372,610 (the ‘610 patent), titled “Electrochromic Devices and Methods.”
In its February 15 response, View denied that the aforementioned patents are valid, along with Sage’s claims regarding its alleged infringement of the patents.
In addition, the company alleges that “one or more claims of the ’177 and ’610 patents are invalid for failure to comply with one or more of the requirements of the patent laws of the United States.”
In its counterclaim, View claims that it obtained U.S. patent no. 8,243,357 (the “’357 patent”), entitled “Fabrication of Low Defectivity Electrochromic Devices,” last August and that Sage has infringed upon this patent “at least by making, using, selling, offering to sell and/or importing electrochromic glass products ... in the United States, and/or by contributing to and/or inducing others to do the same.”
The counterclaim continues, “On information and belief, SAGE and/or one or more of its employees or authorized agents has obtained knowledge of the ’357 patent as a result of, by way of example, diligence performed in connection with financing received by SAGE from, e.g., Compagnie de Saint-Gobain ... and/or the acquisition of SAGE by Compagnie de Saint-Gobain ... and/or as a result of the instant filing of these Counterclaims.”
View is seeking a declaratory judgment that it has not infringed on either patent and “that one or more claims of the ’177 or ’610 patents is invalid.” At press time, Sage had not responded to the counterclaims.