In a clash of PET resin titans, Invista and a unit of Indorama Polymers say they have won a patent infringement case against M&G Group. Yet M&G called the decision "a quasi-complete, across-the-board defeat of [Invista's] legal claims," and said it plans to appeal.
U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., recently ruled that M&G infringed on Invista's patent for PolyShield-brand PET resin. Auriga Polymers — an Indorama unit — is Invista's exclusive U.S. licensee for PolyShield technology.
The court ruled that M&G's PoliProtect-brand APB and JB resins infringed on the PolyShield patent. A jury in the same court had reached a similar decision in July, officials with Wichita, Kan.-based M&G said in an Aug. 21 news release.
PolyShield's barrier technology was designed to meet the shelf life and barrier requirements of oxygen-sensitive food and beverages, including beer, juice, and wine. Bottles produced from the resin meet performance criteria of brewers around the world, according to Invista.
The decision "brings certainty and clarity to the polyester food packaging market," officials said in the release.
An Invista spokesman said damages will be determined at a later date.
Invista filed the suit in 2011 against M&G, which is based in Tortona, Italy, and operates a regional headquarters in Houston. Auriga later joined the suit as a plaintiff.
Auriga consists of the PET assets in Spartanburg, S.C., that Invista sold to Indorama in 2011. Bangkok-based Indorama now operates 850 million pounds of annual PET rein capacity and 155 million pounds of annual PET fiber capacity at the site.
In a statement released on Aug. 23, M&G CEO Marco Ghisolfi complained about Invista's news release that claimed a victory in the lawsuit.
"I consider unfortunate that Invista attempted to portray a quasi-complete, across-the-board defeat of their legal claims, as a victory," Ghisolfi said. "My sales organization will be in contact with all clients to correct with facts any misperceptions which may have arisen from Invista['s] press release, which I personally consider quite misleading."
M&G claimed in its release that courts in Germany and Italy have ruled that M&G did not infringe on Invista's patents. The company claims that Invista initially brought action against M&G under three patents, and that all claims except one — which M&G plans to appeal — were rejected or voluntarily dismissed.
Invista exited commodity PET when it made the sale to Indorama, but the firm remains one of the world's largest makers of nylon 6/6 resins and compounds.