Patent-lawsuit firm sues window makers

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: August 9, 2013 4:19 pm ET
Updated: August 9, 2013 4:22 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Construction, Pipe/Profile/Tubing, Extrusion, Legal, Windows & doors

A New York firm claims that 10 companies are infringing on its patents for window-frame construction.

“We are looking for amicable cases, not just lawsuits,” said Robert Berman, president and CEO of CopyTele Inc., the Melville, N.Y., parent company of the firm launching the lawsuits. Berman said in a telephone interview that subsidiary J-Channel Industries Corp. also will pursue royalties from window companies not named in the lawsuits.

Ten companies face civil suits in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tenn., after J-Channel filed its complaint and suits Aug. 7.

J-Channel was created as a subsidiary of CopyTele to pursue alleged window-frame patent infringement, Berman said. Copy¬- Tele’s primary business is “monetization and assertion of patents.”

CopyTele announced the lawsuits in an Aug. 8 news release.

J-Channel holds a patent on window-frame construction technology. The system includes a J-shaped plastic or metal trim for the window that supports soffit or siding. CopyTele said the system allows for easier installation of windows in conventional, manufactured and modular homes. In a patent, the inventor claims the system performs well even when cold temperatures cause siding to contract.

One of the companies named in the lawsuits is Ply Gem Industries Inc., a major vinyl profile extruder based in Cary, N.C., that makes vinyl windows and doors, siding, fencing, trim and moldings, gutters and veneer.

Other companies with window operations that face lawsuits are Atrium Windows and Doors Inc., a Dallas-based fabricator of vinyl and aluminum windows; Elixir Industries Inc., a Mission Viejo, Calif., aluminum window producer; Jeld-Wen Inc., a Woodbridge, Ontario, vinyl window fabricator; Kinro Manufacturing Inc., a Goshen, Ind., vinyl window fabricator; Pella Corp. of Pella, Iowa, which makes vinyl windows; RGF Industries Inc. of Pittsburgh, which distributes vinyl windows; Tafco Corp., a vinyl window producer in Melrose Park, Ill., Lowe’s Cos. Inc. of Mooresville, N.C., a distributor of home-improvement products; and Clayton Homes Inc., a major producer of manufactured and modular homes in Maryville, Tenn.

“Our inventor is a former window manufacturer that was forced out of the business by a consortium of larger, more powerful competitors, who misappropriated his J-Channel technology,” Berman said. “After licensing the technology to a few manufacturers, the original J-Channel patent was invalidated in patent litigation over 10 years ago due to discrepancies in the claim language. Following the litigation, the inventor fortified the claim language to eliminate the discrepancies, and the patent office re-issued the patent.”

According to records filed with the court, the U.S. Patent Office reissued a patent on window-frame technology to its inventor, Leland D. Sayers of Knoxville, Tenn., in February 2008. The patent number is RE 40041. It was a re-issue of patent 5,660,010 from August 1997.

Berman said the re-issue of a stronger patent and a royalty rate has been established based on the previous licenses. The patent infringement has become an industry standard, he added.

Sanders has no official position with J-Channel, but he has a revenue-sharing arrangement with the firm, Berman said. Berman would not disclose the royalty level J-Channel expects from patent infringers. Some companies paid royalties on the original patent but did not pay them after the patent was re-issued, according to Berman.

He claimed Leland’s company, Sealmaster LLC of Knoxville, was forced out of business several years ago by a competitor’s pressure tactics.

Ply Gem is North America’s fifth-largest pipe, profile and extrusion firm, with annual profile sales of about $740 million, including recent acquisitions, according to estimates in Plastics News’ recent survey of the sector. Ply Gem’s total sales in 2012 were $1.12 billion. It runs 11 vinyl extrusion plants in the U.S. and Canada.

Ply Gem officials were unavailable at deadline to comment on the lawsuits.

CopyTele said on its website that its management has more than 30 years of combined experience in patent monetization and assertion and has generated more than $150 million in patent licensing revenues. It now has 66 U.S. patents and 11 patent applications in five technology areas besides window-frame construction. It is a public company listed on the OTC exchange.

 


Comments

Patent-lawsuit firm sues window makers

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: August 9, 2013 4:19 pm ET
Updated: August 9, 2013 4:22 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Judge limits scope of jury verdict against JM Eagle

December 19, 2014 2:30 pm ET

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Dec. 18 that last year's jury verdict issued against J-M Manufacturing Co. — now JM Eagle — for...    More

Image

Soy-based foam improves window performance, sustainability

December 18, 2014 12:51 pm ET

Launched in April 2013, Madison, Wis.-based WFI Global LLC is making a name in the fenestration market with what it says is a distinct product...    More

Image

Pent-up demand fueling extrusion machinery market

December 9, 2014 1:10 pm ET

These are good times for machinery companies that serve flexible packaging — big-dollar items like blown and cast film equipment, and sheet...    More

Image

Brazilian-owned buyer to reopen Ohio films plant

December 8, 2014 4:08 pm ET

UPDATED — The 70 workers at Dow Chemical Co.’s polyolefin films plant in Findlay, Ohio, have received an early Christmas present —...    More

Image

Clear Lam adds co-packaging capabilities

December 8, 2014 2:22 pm ET

Clear Lam Packaging Inc. is investing $2 million to create a co-packing facility and innovation center at the company's Elk Grove Village, Ill., manuf...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events