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 Public Policy, Packaging, 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

Consumer products sector sees improving growth

August 27, 2014 12:49 pm ET

It is late summer, and we are already almost two-thirds of the way through the third quarter. But I find myself wanting to bask in the warm afterglow ...    More

Image

Plastic bag ban stalls in California Assembly

August 26, 2014 6:00 am ET

The California Assembly could not muster the bipartisan votes needed to approve the first state-wide plastic bag ban in the United States.    More

Image

Sonoco buys Germany's Weidenhammer, plans for thin-walled packaging growth

August 25, 2014 1:41 pm ET

Sonoco Products Co.'s acquisition of Weidenhammer Packaging Group GmbH of Germany includes plastic packaging technology that the company is targeting ...    More

Image

Private equity firm buys Berlin Packaging

August 25, 2014 11:36 am ET

Private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners plans to buy rigid packaging distributor Berlin Packaging LLC for $1.43 billion.    More

Image

A123 Systems re-energizes its future

August 25, 2014 10:40 am ET

Battery maker A123 Systems LLC has new leadership and a new strategy expected to help the company generate just above a net zero cash flow on revenue ...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

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

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