Gala Industries Inc. has filed a lawsuit for patent infringement against a German competitor over underwater pelletizing technology.
In September, Gala filed suit in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Va., against Bruckmann & Kreyenborg Granuliertechnik GmbH, and Kreyenborg GmbH. But word of the lawsuit did not reach the plastics news media until February, when Kreyenborg and BKG issued a news release. BKG is a division of Kreyenborg; both are based in Munster, Germany.
The legal battle actually began at NPE 1997, according to a spokeswoman for Eagle Rock, Va.-based Gala. Gala Industries officials touring the Chicago show saw the pelletizer in question at the Kreyenborg/BKG booth.
Gala said that Theodor Bruckmann, now BKG's managing director, was named in the lawsuit. Bruckmann was managing director of Gala's own German subsidiary, Gala Kunststoff und Kautschukmaschinen GmbH in Birten, Germany, from 1988-93. Bruckmann also owned a company that supplied Gala with electronic controls.
Gala's news release says Bruckmann left to join with Gala's competitor, Kreyenborg, and compete against Gala — an arrangement Gala claims is unfair.
Bruckmann, interviewed by telephone from Germany, said that he had the idea for the pelletizer technology before he joined Gala. After leaving Gala, he spent one year running his company, then joined with Kreyenborg to form BKG.
Gala charges that BKG and Kreyenborg threatened Gala by saying that unless Gala dropped its lawsuit, Kreyenborg would notify the press — a statement Bruckmann confirmed.
Gala also said Bruckmann has not appeared in court, but Bruckmann said March 30 he had not been served with court papers.