Jon Butler, managing director of Cinpres Gas Injection Ltd., is heading up a new patent-protection business for Cinpres owner BI Group plc and in a surprising move has hired former business rival Ed Smith, who was previously president of Gain Technologies Inc.
Cinpres and Gain have been locked in legal disputes for years over gas-assisted injection molding technology patents. Cinpres won a victory in Europe last year, thanks to a British court that found in its favor.
BI Group, which bought Cinpres in 1993, has set up the new business specifically to protect the intellectual property of all BI Group companies and those companies they work with, particularly in the automotive and electronics supply chains.
Butler, who will divide his time between BI Group Services and Middlewich, England-based Cinpres, said in a statement: Ed is a talented business leader with great experience in international IP protection, even if much of it was gained in bitter competition with Cinpres. We have both put the past behind us and I am confident I have the best man for the job.
Smith worked for Gain Technologies for 10 years and was president for 11/2 years until he left the company in May. He became an employee of BI Group in September, joining as a patent consultant with the new business.
The court cases are history, Smith said. He admitted it was a little bizarre, initially, working with a guy I was used to seeing across a courtroom, but we got over that fast.
Smith said he has severed all links with his former employer, and is no longer a shareholder in Plastic Molded Technologies Inc., which trades as Gain Technologies. He will work out of a home office in the Detroit area.
The new IP business also will work on behalf of all BPI Group's companies, which include UK-based engineering, gas and metals companies: BI Composites, Prestige Medical, United Cast Bar, George Wilson Industries and Diamond H Controls; and China-based BI Electric (Shenzen).
Any company engaged in [research and development] faces IP threats, ranging from companies making claims to the IP, to shoddy, pirated technology being produced, said Butler in a statement issued by BI Group.
It's a particular problem in emerging economies but we've acquired expertise in this area. The IP unit will ensure we have the clout to protect ourselves and our customers, who may otherwise face unfair competition from rivals using pirated technology.
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