Glaston Alleges North Glass is Infringing on Intellectual Property Rights

Glaston has initiated what it says is a legal process to enforce the positive judgment of Canadian legal proceedings for damage compensation in Germany in its ongoing dispute with China-based North Glass.

According to a release from Glaston, the court issued a judgment in Glaston’s favor in late 2017, but the process is still incomplete, as an application for permission to appeal has been made to a higher court.

“In the meantime, with the purpose of safeguarding Glaston’s rights, as a security measure Glaston applied to the court for seizure of payment between North Glass and its client,” writes Glaston. “Subsequently the court has granted the seizure in favor of Glaston in said payment seizure claim. As a result of the above mentioned positive outcome, Glaston may now advance on its measures aiming to the actual seizure of payment. Glaston is also considering other options for securing the compensation.”

The dispute began in 2012 when Glaston initiated a process against Shanghai North Glass Technology & Industry Co. Ltd. and its distributor in Germany for patent violations relating to one of Glaston’s bending and tempering technologies. Based on a Glaston patent from 1995, a first instance judgment in Glaston’s favor was passed in Germany in January 2017, according to the release.

“As the technology leader of our industry we will continue to protect our intellectual property rights globally,” says Sasu Koivumäki, senior vice president of Glaston’s machines business. “Unfortunately, as court decisions haven’t been respected by North Glass, indirect parties like glass processors had to be affected by the process. We really try to minimize the harm but at the same time want to point out that we are defending our assets and rights. Defending these rights has not been made easy but especially in cases where the acquisition of lines is published we have an opportunity to take action.”

Shanghai North Glass and its parents company, Luoyang North Glass, responded to the allegations.

“Shanghai North Glass’ increasing role in the worldwide market has not remained unnoticed and, unfortunately, has led some of its competitors to engage in legal disputes, some of which may also be noticed on a customer and end-user level. Shanghai North Glass takes these disputes seriously, and remains committed to protecting its customers against any legal threats,” reads a company statement.

According to North Glass, Glaston accused Shanghai North Glass of infringement of its European patent EP 0679613 B1 by the sale and distribution of a specific type of glass bending machines to Germany in 2012. North Glass defended its legal position in the dispute and provided the court with non-infringement arguments at the time.

In early 2017, after different expert opinions had been obtained, a first instance decision was handed down, which granted some of the asserted claims.

“Importantly, as EP 0679613 B1 expired on April 25, 2015 already, this decision does however not include an injunction, and does thereby not prohibit the continued use of the accused type of glass bending machines. Also, due to its expiration, EP 0679613 B1 will not prevent the future use of any other product sold and distributed by Shanghai North Glass,” reads a company statement.

Shanghai North Glass has filed an appeal against the decision, which is currently pending with the courts.

Similar claims have been asserted by Glaston and Tamglass against Shanghai North Glass in the U.K. and Canada in 2006 and 2010. According to North Glass, two patents asserted in those countries have also expired, and Shanghai North Glass considers the asserted claims to be unmerited.

“While it therefore reserves its rights to a defense by all legal means available, Shanghai North Glass will honor any final and binding court decision, and is working toward a final and swift resolution of all further disputes resulting from any such decision. Also here, Shanghai North Glass’ main focus is to protect, to the best of its possibilities, its valued customers from the consequences of any legal action undertaken by Glaston or any other competitors, now or in future,” reads a company statement.

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