One patent battle over personal-computer-based machine controls is over, as Milacron Inc. and Sig Plastics Technologies (USA) Inc. have settled lawsuits against each other.
But another dispute has surfaced involving Milacron and Italian injection press maker Sandretto Industrie SpA, according to a published report.
Milacron, based in Cincinnati, and Sig USA in North Branch, N.J., sued each other in January and February, over Milacron's U.S. patent for a PC-based controller to run plastics processing machinery. Milacron aggressively has tried to get competitors to take out licenses for the technology and, failing that, has sued for patent infringement.
Milacron and Sig announced May 21 that they have agreed to dismiss their suits and settle the disputes. No terms were disclosed, but a Milacron spokesman said Sig has taken out a license from Milacron.
Sig makes blow molding machines. Milacron makes injection presses, blow molding machines and extruders.
Officials of Sig in New Jersey were not available for comment. The U.S. operation is part of Sig Group of Neuhausen Rhine Falls, Switzerland.
Sig sued Milacron first - a departure from other companies sued so far by Milacron. The joint news release quoted Werner Fillman, chief executive officer of Sig Group's global plastics operations, saying: ``While Sig initially pursued a legal solution to its dispute with Milacron, it is always better to resolve such disputes through licensing when it makes sense for both parties, as in this instance.''
Harold Faig, vice president of Milacron's Plastics Technologies Group, repeated the company's position that it wants to license the PC-based technology to machinery manufacturers ``on terms that permit fair competition.''
Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Turin, Italy-based Sandretto filed suit in May in Delaware, claiming that Milacron's PC control patent is invalid. The newspaper said Sandretto claims the patent is based on a prior invention.
Officials of Milacron could not be reached for comment on the Sandretto report. A spokesman for Sandretto USA Inc. in Freedom, Pa., said the company had no comment.
Milacron earlier sued two other companies, Ube Machinery Inc. and Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. They ended up settling with Milacron.