Chicago Heights Glass Sues Reflection Window & Wall for Patent Infringement

In December 2021, Chicago Heights Glass Inc. (CGH), 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 allege 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 Talon Wall’s 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, a direct competitor, according to court documents, 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 Kurt LeVan, Chicago Heights Glass president, 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, LeVan spent years developing the Talon Wall System and went through the rigorous U.S. patent process.

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 USGlass magazine’s request for comments at the time of publication.

Technicality Hurts Glass Supplier’s Case

After settling for $1.3 million out of court over allegedly defective glass, a California glass supplier’s case isn’t covered by its Liberty Mutual insurance policy, according to court documents filed December 2021.

Sweig General Construction Inc. was a general contractor building a $20 million home in La Jolla, Calif. The design called for approximately 180 lites of large, heavy, specialized glass, according to court documents. Sweig subcontracted the glass package to Giroux Glass Inc., which purchased the lites from Glasswerks LA (GWLA). GWLA fabricated and supplied the finished lites to Giroux for installation.

GWLA purchased stock glass from glass manufacturer AGC, then fabricated and delivered it to Giroux. Court documents allege that some of the GWLA glass was defective and had to be replaced. After installation, the glass developed pinkish-purple splotches.

“To remove the defective panels, Giroux had to destroy and remove the non-defective, non-GWLA finishes such as stucco, stone flooring, porcelain, tile, Venetian plaster and drywall. This replacement required destruction of the encapsulating finishes, including the stone, tile, drywall, plaster, paint, porcelain and custom metals. Some of the replacement panels were defective and had to be removed and replaced a second time, causing more damage to the non-GWLA finishes,” say documents filed by GWLA. In 2018, Giroux and others made claims regarding damages caused by the allegedly defective glass.

After claims from Giroux and Sweig, GWLA requested its insurer, Liberty Insurance Corporation, provide it with a defense against those claims under a commercial general liability insurance policy. However, in accordance with Liberty Mutuals’ terms, it only provides for defense against suits, not against claims. Liberty declined to defend the claims and requested GWLA provide a copy of the lawsuit if ever initiated by Sweig or Giroux. Before Sweig or Giroux filed a suit, GWLA elected to settle its claims.

“Thus, the subject claims never matured into ‘suits,’ as defined by the policy, and, consequently, Liberty’s duty to defend a ‘suit’ under the policy, did not, and could not ever, arise.”

The Court granted Liberty’s motion to dismiss on December 8, 2021.

Bosch Receives Waiver to Sell Imaging Tool

Technology company Robert Bosch LLC, widely known as Bosch, received the go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission to pursue “the certification and marketing of the newest version of its UWB wall imaging system.” In an order dated January 4, 2022, the FCC decided that allowing Bosch to proceed with launching the next-gen equipment would “allow Bosch to deploy its system to enhance the through-wall imaging capabilities for construction professionals.”

Specifically, Bosch wanted to bring its Wallscanner D-tect 200 Professional to market. As explained in the 2020 Request for Waiver, Bosch said the D-tect 200 is not a tool for consumers, but for “skilled professional deployment in the construction trade, for detection and inspection of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, electric cables, wooden beams, plastic pipes, and for identification of structural flaws within construction materials.”

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