Patent dispute moves forward between DuPont and MacDermid

DuPont and MacDermid Printing Solutions, which have been on opposite sides of a photopolymer-plate patent infringement lawsuit that DuPont filed in 2006, continue to slug it out in the market for thermal flexographic plate processing equipment.

         The latest volley between the two started with DuPont’s announcement that it had reached an agreement with Cortron Corp. for the latter to stop manufacturing and providing service, spare parts and technical support for LAVA thermal plate processing equipment. The agreement settled a patent infringement case involving DuPont Cyrel FAST thermal flexographic printing plate technology.

         MacDermid designed the LAVA processors and Cortron had been manufacturing the equipment on behalf of MacDermid, which is primarily a specialty chemicals company.

         In the announcement, Linda West, vice president and general manager, DuPont Imaging Technologies, was quoted as saying: “At DuPont, we take the matter of intellectual property and the value of our patents very seriously. If we believe our patents are being infringed, we will protect them vigorously…. We are pleased that Cortron promptly agreed to stop manufacturing the current LAVA thermal processing equipment for MacDermid after DuPont notified Cortron that the equipment infringes one of DuPont’s patents.”

         Because DuPont’s statement cast into doubt MacDermid’s ability to continue selling and servicing the LAVA equipment, MacDermid countered with its own announcement saying it would indeed continue to sell and support the products. The company has been selling the LAVA product line since 2005 and has built a global customer base for the technology.

         Acknowledging that Cortron is no longer building the LAVA processors, Paul Merkel, director of global product management at MacDermid, told Flexible Packaging, that the company is able to continue to build new LAVA equipment.

         “MacDermid is continuing to sell, service and support its LAVA product line,” he emphasizes. Merkel adds that Cortron has never had responsibility for service, support or spare parts for the equipment.

         Separate from the LAVA brouhaha, MacDermid has filed a counterclaim against DuPont as part of the 2006 lawsuit to curtail what MacDermid believes is inappropriate competitive activity by DuPont.

         In its counterclaim, MacDermid alleges, among other things, that DuPont has attempted to inappropriately suppress competition, attempted monopolization of portions of the flexographic plate market, engaged in inappropriate restraint of trade and used invalid patents to inappropriately suppress competition.

         In May 2008, DuPont won an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the ongoing lawsuit against MacDermid. DuPont reports that the ruling advanced its efforts to enforce certain of its patents protecting the Cyrel FAST technology.

DuPont
800-345-9999; www2.dupont.com/Cyrel/en_US/index.html

MacDermid Printing Solutions
800-348-7201; www.macdermid.com/printing/

Coating Excellence gets on the green grid

In the spirit of sustainability, Coating Excellence International (CEI) has started to replace part of its carbon-sourced electrical energy with energy derived from renewable and carbon-free sources.

         On August 8, CEI signed an agreement to purchase renewable electrical energy from the Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) NatureWise program. To date, the agreement between CEI and WPS represents the largest quantity of NatureWise energy to be purchased in the WPS service territory.

         Forty commercial and industrial customers currently are enrolled in the NatureWise program. The renewable and carbon-free energy offered through the program is composed of 50% wind and 50% biogas from local landfills and dairy farm waste.

         CEI, the first flexible packaging company to join NatureWise, selected the program in the interest of working with a local energy provider. Using renewable energy significantly lowers the company’s carbon footprint by reducing green house gas emissions, which are a by-product of carbon-based electric power generation.

News Briefs

Correction

in our August issue, we misidentified Richard Schloesser's promotion. He was appointed president and chief operating officer of Toray Plastics (America) Inc. and senior director of Toray Industries Inc. Prior to the appointments he was senior vice president of Toray Plastics (America) Inc. we apologize for the error.

New company services laser scoring, perforating needs

LasX Industries Inc. has formed a new company, LaserSharp FlexPak Services LLC (www.flexpakservices.com), and opened a new facility in Vadnais Heights, Minn. LaserSharp FlexPak Services offers process development and contract manufacturing services focused on scoring for easy-open packaging and perforating for breathable packaging.

Report analyzes package lidding markets

“Flexible Lidstock Packaging: Markets and Technologies 2008-2012,” a new report from Packaging Strategies (a sister publication of Flexible Packaging), evaluates trends and technologies in flexible lids and lidstock in North America, and details more than 70 end-use projections of lidstock consumption. The report includes market data (more than 80 tables and 55 figures), as well as an extensive list of lid and lidstock producers, ranked by their lidstock revenue. For more info or to order, call 610-436-4220 x8511 or visit www.packstrat.com.

New software helps Sonoco respond faster to customers

To improve operational efficiencies, respond more quickly to customer needs and gain immediate access to critical management information across its facilities, Sonoco’s Flexible Packaging group is replacing four legacy systems with the operations suite of PECAS Vision enterprise resource planning (ERP) software from Radius Solutions Ltd. (www.radiussolutions.com) for use across its seven facilities in the United States and Canada. The business unit’s first site went live in only three and half months, with two more U.S. sites to go live this year. An additional U.S. site and three Canadian sites are scheduled to implement the system next year.

Cereplast starts installation at bio-based resin plant

Cereplast (www.cereplast.com ) has completed the mechanical installation of its first production line at the company’s plant in Seymour, Ind., ahead of schedule. Located on a 63-acre site, the line is expected to produce 50 million pounds of bioresin annually, as early as 2010. Mark Barton, senior vice president of manufacturing, has been named general manager of the Indiana facility.