Blow mold maker Mid-America Machining Inc. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Milacron LLC over lightweight milk bottles.
Mid-America filed the lawsuit in June 15 in U.S. District Court in Detroit, and announced it through a news release issued June 23 — the day before Milacron is set to make its initial public stock offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
Dave Skala, Milacron's group vice president of Uniloy Milacron, the blow molding operation in Tecumseh, Mich., said the company has not been served with the lawsuit and had no comment.
Mid-America Machining is located in nearby Brooklyn, Mich.
The lawsuit covers five U.S. patents issued to Mid-America Machining in 2013, 2014 and earlier this year. They cover a wide range of mold features, including sidewalls, bottom, the neck, handle and spout, and aspects like corner design and the geometry of radius transitions between sections of the container.
In the lawsuit, Mid-America claims it informed Milacron as early as 2012 that the company had developed the new lightweight container technology and was patenting it. In the fall of 2014, Mid-America officials say they informed Skala that Mid-America had received three of the patents.
Mid-America's suit says that Milacron is supplying the lightweight jugs to retailer Meijer Inc., and other customers.
Gallon jugs made with the Mid-America design weigh 52 grams, vs. 60 to 62 grams for the average container — for a substantial reduction on high density polyethylene, the company said.
Mid-America is seeking monetary damages and preliminary and permanent injunctions stopping Milacron and its customers from infringing on its five lightweight milk jug patents. The company is asking for a jury trial.