A federal court has awarded PVC maker Geon Co. $4.3 million in damages from patent infringement committed by a Florida business.
U.S. District Court in Miami found Universal Vinyl Corp., a former Geon customer based in Medley, Fla., guilty of violating Geon's patent for using pearlescent PVC compounds to make vertical window blinds.
Abe Weinstein, who is identified in court records as a principal in Universal Vinyl, denied his firm had violated Geon's patents.
``We're not using [Geon's] material and they know about it. That's why we didn't appear in court,'' Weinstein said in a Sept. 3 telephone interview. ``We're not using their material and we're not using their process. It's a waste of time to discuss this.''
He declined further comment.
Geon of Avon Lake, Ohio, filed suit in January 1996 after learning from Universal Vinyl's competitors that the company was using pearlescent compounds purchased from another company to make the blinds. Less than a dozen companies are licensed by Geon to use pearlescent compounds in that application, according to Dennis Cocco, Geon director of corporate and investor affairs.
``It's not a difficult thing to note if you're looking for it,'' Cocco said.
Geon holds three patents on a pigment system used in PVC compounds that are processed into vertical window blinds.
V. Lance Mitchell, Geon vice president and general manager, said in a prepared statement that the court's decision ``demonstrates our resolve to aggressively pursue these types of issues, when appropriate.''
Geon initially had sought about $1.3 million in damages. Cocco said the company based that figure on an estimate of Universal Vinyl's sales of blinds resulting from the patent infringement. The court increased the damages to include past willful infringement.