The Conair-vs.-Novatec dryer lawsuit has ended with a mere change to product literature wording but the war of words goes on.
Conair Group Inc. dropped its patent infringement lawsuit against Novatec Inc. after Novatec agreed to add a sentence to its product literature and Web site information about its Intelli PET Drying System.
The legal skirmish between the auxiliary equipment companies lasted just short of 10 weeks although Conair said in the dismissal document that it is expressly reserving the right to refile the complaint if Novatec misrepresents any promise over the issue.
Conair filed the suit April 15 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, claiming the Intelli PET infringed on its patent. The lawsuit took aim at former Conair executive Conrad Bessemer, who left in 2006 to head a group that bought Novatec. The suit says: This case involves the added intrigue of Conair's longtime employee and former president, Conrad Bessemer.
Conair implied that Novatec, under Bessemer, developed dryers that mimic Conair dryers.
Court documents filed June 22 show the lawsuit has been dismissed.
Novatec, which is not exhibiting at NPE2009, issued a news release the next day announcing the dismissal. Bessemer said Novatec was never served with the lawsuit despite a lot of publicity and sensational headlines in Plastics News and other press outlets which accused me personally of copying Conair technology.
Bessemer again denied that Novatec dryers infringe on Conair patents. There was never any intrigue here and there was never any stealing of technology, he said.
Bessemer is president and CEO of Baltimore-based Novatec. Conair is based in Cranberry Township, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh.
Christopher Keller, Conair's president and chief operating officer, spoke briefly about the legal issue in a June 23 interview at Conair's NPE booth.
We filed a complaint in federal court in order to protect our intellectual property, Keller said. We followed up with them to get more information and on the basis of what they told us, and the fact that they agreed to change their product literature, we agreed to withdraw the complaint.
According to court documents, Novatec agreed to rewrite its product-related documents to include wording that hopper-temperature sensors are for monitoring and trending only and do not control the drying process, the court dismissal documents said.
Bessemer said Novatec agreed to change the wording in its literature so there would be no misunderstanding that its equipment is different. In exchange, Conair agreed to drop its lawsuit, he said.
Some plastic processors, Bessemer said, were completely misled by the inflammatory nature of that suit.
It certainly wasn't the lawsuit of the century, Bessemer said.
Copyright 2009 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.