A plastic pallet patent infringement lawsuit that Nucon Corp. filed in August against Menasha Corp. is over. Nucon of Deerfield, Ill., filed the suit Aug. 23 against Menasha of Neenah, Wis., in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Nucon charged that pallets molded by Menasha infringed on two patents held by Nucon. The alleged violations involved construction and design of the pallet.
Nucon issued a news release Nov. 5 saying that, under a court ruling, Menasha will pay damages of more than $300 for each of the pallets sold. Menasha also will pay Nucon's court costs. Nucon said the judge ``ruled in favor of ... Nucon.'' However, a Menasha official disagreed with that interpretation.
Under an agreement, Menasha, which only made six prototypes for customers, will pay Nucon damages of only $2,000 - or $333 per pallet, said Jim Sarosiek, Menasha's vice president and general counsel. Sarosiek said that, after Menasha officials learned about the lawsuit, the company studied the patent situation in more detail.
``We concluded that the design does not infringe [Nucon's patents] and that's still our position, that we did not infringe,'' Sarosiek said.
Even so, to avoid costly litigation, Menasha tried to reach a settlement with Nucon, Sarosiek said. When that attempt failed, Menasha filed an offer for judgment with the court, offering the $2,000 in damages, and Nucon agreed, he said.
Menasha, which said it was in the process of changing the de-sign anyway, had agreed to an injunction barring the firm from making any more of the pallets, Sarosiek said.
``We agreed because it would have no impact on what we were going to do.'' he said.
Brandon Pigott, Nucon's vice president of sales and marketing, could not be reached for comment.