DETROIT — Machinery supplier Milacron LLC has responded to a patent infringement lawsuit that was filed last month by blow mold maker Mid-America Machining Inc.
Brooklyn, Mich.-based Mid-America Machining had filed suit on June 15 in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claiming Milacron was infringing on patents to make lightweight milk jugs. At the time, Milacron said it had not been served with the lawsuit and had no comment.
Now the company is answering the suit — with a news release pointing out that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice that a new Uniloy lightweight container design was allowed for issuance as a patent.
“Our products are based on proprietary technology. And when it comes to the end product, typically containers, we have the capability to provide product design assistance to our customers or, as in this case, develop our own proprietary designs that we openly license to our customers,” said Dave Skala, group vice president of Uniloy Milacron, in a news release.
“We respect other companies' technology rights, just as we expect other companies to respect our technology rights,” he said.
Uniloy is the Cincinnati-based company's blow molding operation, based in Tecumseh, Mich.
Milacron said its container designs are evolved from its own proprietary designs that go back to at least 1992.
“The key point that seems to be lost on Mid-America … is that our product success stems from our own unique proprietary features and is unrelated to the Mid-America patents.” said Robert Spagnoli, Uniloy's global product manager for molds and tooling, in the July 16 release.
The lawsuit covers five U.S. patents issued to Mid-America in 2013, 2014 and earlier this year. They cover 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.
Mid-America is seeking monetary damages and injunctions stopping Milacron and its customers from infringing on the patents.
Mark Berry, president of Mid-America, could not be reached for comment on July 16.