Fort James expanding cup and lid plant
EASTON, PA. — Fort James Corp. is spending $13 million to expand its Easton cup and lid plant. President Thomas Fowler said he expects the operation to add 35-50 jobs to the plant by the end of 2000.
The plant, part of Fort James' Consumer Products Business, makes Dixie-brand disposable plastic and paper cups and lids, including thermoformed products. The expansion will include two new lines to make paper cups and thermoformed lids.
The Norwalk, Conn.-based firm received a $100,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to aid in the expansion.
Fort James has 65 manufacturing operations around the world.
Pechiney appealing patent judgement
CHICAGO — Pechiney Group will appeal a judgment against its American National Can Group Inc. subsidiary regarding alleged patent infringement.
A judge in U.S. District Court in Chicago on July 1 ordered ANC to pay Viskase Corp. $164.9 million in damages. A jury had awarded Viskase $102.4 million in damages, but Judge Elaine Bucklo increased the amount because infringement occurred over a long period and ``some enhancement may be necessary to deter future willful infringement.''
A jury in November 1996 found ANC infringed on Viskase patents in its production and sale of heat-shrinkable film for fresh meat, processed meat and poultry.
The revised award includes $20 million for willful infringement, $5.5 million for supplemental damages and $36.9 million in prejudgment interest.
Pechiney said in a July 6 news release that it believes it has strong arguments to present to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The judgment has no material effect on Pechiney, and the company said it believes accrued reserves of $102 million for the litigation are adequate. Pechiney has indemnified ANC for any damages it is required to pay.
ANC and Viskase are based in Chicago.
Judge rules in trade-secret sharing case
BATON ROUGE, LA. — A July 7 ruling from a federal judge in Baton Rouge temporarily will prevent two former employees of Dow Chemical Co. and its DuPont Dow Elastomers joint venture from sharing trade secrets with Chinese competitors.
A lawsuit filed earlier by the two firms claimed former employees David Wen-Chyu Liou and John Wheeler, along with their consulting firms, had given Chinese clients Dow information used to produce the company's Tyrin-brand chlorinated polyethylene. Tyrin is a synthetic rubber used in auto hoses, electrical wire jackets and vinyl siding.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Tyson issued the temporary ban after a preliminary hearing in the case.
Liou spent most of his 20-year Dow career at the firm's Plaquemine, La., plant, where Tyrin is produced. Wheeler helped design Dow's Tyrin plant in Stade, Germany.
Neither Liou, Wheeler nor their lawyers could be reached for comment at press time.
A trial that could establish a permanent ban is set for Nov. 8.
SGL unit to acquire stake in Aldila plant
POWAY, CALIF. — A unit of SGL Carbon AG plans to acquire a 50 percent interest in the Evanston, Wyo., carbon-fiber manufacturing operation of Aldila Inc. The new plant began ramping up last year.
Aldila announced July 6 it had reached an agreement in principle with SGL for an investment intended to establish a joint venture. The transaction is scheduled to close during 1999's third quarter. No terms were disclosed.
The venture would support SGL's carbon-fiber needs and Aldila's core golf-shaft business and prepreg operation in Poway. It also will develop, make and market other carbon-fiber products.
SGL's fibers and composites business unit has manufacturing operations in Meitingen, Germany; Inverness, Scotland; and Gardena, Calif. The Wiesbaden, Germany-based parent had 1998 sales of more than $1.2 billion.
Poway-based Aldila lost $307,000 on sales of $10.6 million for the quarter that ended March 31. In the corresponding 1998 quarter, the firm earned $1.14 million on sales of $19.1 million.
Fuller & Thaler Asset Management of San Mateo, Calif., has acquired 10.55 percent of the ownership, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.