Gossen Corp. is going after its major competitor in coextruded, foamed PVC moldings by alleging infringement on a patent it has held since 1987. The Milwaukee firm named Marley Mouldings Inc. of Marion, Va., as the defendant in an action it filed March 29 in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee. Gossen is trying to stop the sale of Marley products it says infringe on Gossen's patent. Marley has about three weeks to respond to the lawsuit.
Bob Simon, Gossen vice president of marketing and sales, said in a telephone interview that the key product in the suit is coextruded flexible PVC used for weatherstripping for garage door stops and similar applications. The construction has cellular and non-cellular layers. He estimated that type of business accounts for about a third of Gossen's sales.
Gossen, a profile extruder, listed its 1994 total sales at $22 million in Plastics News' ranking of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders last year.
Art Ramey, Marley vice president of sales, marketing and distribution, said his firm will defend itself aggressively against the lawsuit.
Marley reviewed all patents as far back as 1987 before making a garage door stop product and judged that its product did not infringe.
Several firms entered that market in the late 1980s and some might still make those products, although Marley has a large market share, Ramey said. He did not disclose the size of Marley's business. Its main plant is in Marion and it has a smaller facility in Waco, Texas.
Gossen said its suit relates to U.S. Patent 4,690,862, called ``Integral Composite Profile of Cellular and Noncellular Resins and a Dual-Extrusion Method for its Manufacture.''
Simon said Gossen contacted Marley about alleged infringement in 1990 and a few times since. It recently filed the lawsuit because it had a six-year deadline to take action from the time it first notified Marley. Ramey said Marley responded ``in good faith'' to Gossen's communications.
Ramey said Marley plc acquired the Marion operation in 1990 when it bought DG Mouldings, whose predecessor began making cellular vinyl extrusions in 1970. Marley has not changed the technology, but it varies formulations with each application. It also makes foamed, extruded polystyrene for various applications, including picture frames.