Firm brings patent suit against nine stretch film producers

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 22, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Public Policy, Film & Sheet

MEMPHIS, TENN. (Updated Feb. 23, 4:05 p.m. ET) — A technology licensing firm has filed a lawsuit against nine plastic film producers – including some of the industry’s biggest names - claiming that they are violating a patent on stretch cling film.

Multilayer Stretch Cling Film Holdings Inc. filed six lawsuits against those nine firms on Feb. 10 in U.S. District Court in Memphis, Tenn. Multilayer is a Wilmington, Del.-based firm that bought the patent from global stretch film processor Manuli Stretch Film Group SpA of Milan, Italy.

The nine firms named in the lawsuit are Alpha Industries Inc., Berry Plastics Corp., Inteplast Group Ltd., AmTopp Corp., Malpack Ltd., Alliance Plastics LLC, Intertape Polymer Group Inc., AEP Industries Inc. and Sigma Stretch Film. Berry, Sigma, Inteplast and AEP rank among North America’s 10 largest film and sheet makers, according to a recent Plastics News ranking. Intertape is in the top 25.

AmTopp is a unit of Inteplast. Alpha and Sigma both are owned by Sigma Plastics Group. Alliance resells film for Malpack, but does not make its own film.

Multilayer is seeking unspecified past damages, as well as forward licensing fees from those nine firms, according to attorney Melissa Hunter Smith. Hunter Smith is with the Nashville, Tenn.-based law firm of Stites & Harbison PLLC, which is representing Multilayer.

If the defendant firms don’t agree to license the patent technology, Multilayer will seek permanent injunctions preventing them from making film based on the patent, Hunter Smith said in a Feb. 22 phone interview.

“We’re not sure how much film has been made using this technology, but we believe it’s a lot,” she added.

Paragon Films Inc. already has agreed to license the technology. The patent covers stretch cling films of seven or more layers. The patented films claim to be stronger and more versatile than previous films, and also claim to provide economic and environmental benefits because they can be made at a lower cost per square foot.

Officials with Sigma in Lyndhurst, N.J.; and with Intertape in Montreal declined to comment on the case. Officials at AEP, Berry, Malpack, Alliance and Inteplast could not be reached for comment.

No court dates have been set in the case. In 2010, Multilayer and Stites & Harbison won a similar lawsuit against Pinnacle Films Inc. That suit resulted in a settlement of more than $2 million, which was paid by Pinnacle’s bankruptcy estate. The firm filed for bankruptcy shortly before the case was to go to trial. Inteplast – one of the firms named in the new lawsuits - bought Pinnacle’s assets as part of that bankruptcy.

Manuli had acquired the patent in 2007 when it bought Quintec Films Group. Quintec originally had filed the suit against Pinnacle in 2006. Manuli recently stopped film production at its North American plant in Shelbyville, Tenn., opting instead to import products from other Manuli plants to supply U.S. customers.

The suits are the first patent infringement cases filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee since its selection for the federal Patent Pilot Program. That program is designed to enhance expertise in patent cases among U.S. district judges.


Comments

Firm brings patent suit against nine stretch film producers

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: February 22, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Sealed Air's move to Charlotte will put it all under 'One Roof'

July 25, 2014 2:03 pm ET

Sealed Air Corp. shook the ground last week by announcing plans to relocate its headquarters from Elmwood Park, N.J., to Charlotte, N.C., in a move...    More

Investigation continuing into injury at Windsor mold maker

July 25, 2014 12:57 pm ET

Canadian authorities are investigating an incident in which a worker's foot got caught in a machine at Crest Mold Technology Inc. in Oldcastle,...    More

Image

Bioplastics maker wins government funding

July 25, 2014 12:13 pm ET

Canadian bioplastics maker Solegear Bioplastics Inc. has won $1.6 million in funding from the government-sponsored Western Innovation Initiative...    More

Image

Rail improvements also allow rotomolder to improve operations

July 24, 2014 3:10 pm ET

An infrastructure improvement grant from the U.S. Commerce Department is helping an Indiana plastics plant expand its product line and add jobs.    More

Image

Bemis' product strategy paying off with record earnings per share

July 24, 2014 2:56 pm ET

Bemis Co. Inc. is feeling good about itself these days as the flexible packaging and pressure sensitive materials firm is posting record earnings per ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events