In December 2021, Chicago Heights Glass Inc., a corporation specializing in commercial high-rise façade construction in the Chicago metropolitan area, Talon Wall Holdings and Entekk Group Ltd. filed a federal patent infringement lawsuit citing four counts against former employee Joel J. Phelps, Reflection Window & Wall, LLC (RWW), LendLease, Pepper Construction Co., 1400 Land Holdings and others.

Court documents state the patented exterior aluminum and glass wall construction system for commercial buildings, known as Talon Wall®, has been incorporated in Phelps and RWW’s building façade system “Uwall” or “U-8000.” The lawsuit further alleges the defendants knowingly violated the Talon Wall patents. RWW’s website advertises the UWall system acknowledging it is based on the Talon Wall System, according to the documents, where it is described as having “exceptional invention and parentage.”

The complaint states that Phelps, then the vice president of business development for Chicago Heights Glass, abruptly left the company and “had substantial knowledge regarding the technical details, advantages and market opportunities for the Talon Wall System.” He was then hired by RWW, which the documents claim is a direct competitor, and also failed to return certain materials to CHG in accordance with a Separation Agreement.

“As a tacit admission that the Talon Wall System was exceptional within the industry, Phelps contacted LeVan about a month after abruptly quitting and tried to secure a license for RWW to use the Talon Wall technology. Talon Wall denied this request,” the documents read.

According to Chicago Heights Glass, President Kurt LeVan spent years developing the Talon Wall System and went through the rigorous U.S. patent process. “The company will continue to vigorously defend its intellectual property against such violations, including against contractors and building owners that use it.”

1400 Land Holdings’ request for an extension to respond to the amended complaint by March 1, was granted.

Representatives for the defendants had not responded to USGNN’s request for comments at the time of publication.