LNP Engineering Plastics Inc. has launched a second patent-infringement lawsuit against rival RTP Co. The Exton, Pa., firm filed the suit for "continued willful infringement of two of LNP's Verton long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics patents," the firm stated in a March 2 news release.
LNP President Richard Burns said the second suit covers the period beginning Dec. 17, when U.S. District Judge Roderick McKelvie in Wilmington, Del., determined in LNP's first suit that RTP "as a matter of law" infringed on two LNP patents.
"In spite of the Dec. 17 court ruling, RTP has continued to infringe our patents," Burns said in a news release. "We have no alternative other than to pursue an injunction and seek further damages."
McKelvie ruled that if LNP's two patents covering compounds with 30 percent or higher long- glass-fiber content by volume were valid, then RTP had infringed on them. His opinion reversed an earlier finding by a jury in late 1998 that RTP did not infringe on the patents. McKelvie also upheld the jury finding that RTP did not infringe on a patent covering long-fiber content of less than 30 percent by volume.
Burns said in a telephone interview that following the judge's decision, LNP attempted to negotiate a settlement on the two greater-than-30 percent patents but could not reach an agreement with RTP. Beginning May 30, issues regarding the two patents will be determined in a two-day trial.
RTP said in a March 3 statement that products relating to the contentious two patents constitute a very small percentage of its product line and that it is confident the patents will be found invalid in the May 30 trial.
RTP Chief Executive Officer Hugh Miller said in the statement, "I am pleased to learn that the vast majority of RTP's products are no longer threatened by the invalid ... [less-than-30 percent] patent."
Burns said LNP plans to appeal the judge's opinion on the less-than-30 percent patent.
He added that a trial for the second suit could occur a few months after the May 30 trial. The second suit is pending in U.S. District Court in Wilmington. RTP said its lawyers believe that suit is frivolous and will move to dismiss it.
LNP originally filed its infringement suit in September 1996 against RTP, DSM Engineering Plastics Inc. and Polymer Composites Inc. DSM agreed in 1997 to stop producing the long-fiber- reinforced compounds. That year Polymer Composites Inc. and other Hoechst Celanese Corp. affiliates settled their part of the suit by agreeing to cross-license their related patents.