USA: Plastpro victory in 6-year patent dispute on fiberglass doors

After six years of expensive legal disputes, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that fiberglass entry doors made by Plastpro, Inc. do not infringe a patent assigned to Therma-Tru Corporation.
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After six years of expensive legal disputes, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled that fiberglass entry doors made by Plastpro, Inc. do not infringe a patent assigned to Therma-Tru Corporation. During the legal action, door market leader Therma-Tru brought patent infringement actions against almost all of its competitors. Plastpro executives attacked the action as “a determined effort to reduce competition for the benefit of Therma-Tru, and to the detriment of consumers, retailers and distributors of exterior fiberglass doors”. United States District Judge John C. Lifland of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted summary judgment that grained fiberglass entry door products of Plastpro do not infringe U.S. Patent No. 4,550,540 assigned to Therma-Tru. “We are very gratified by this court decision, which reaffirms our right to continue producing the highest quality exterior doors consumers and retailers want without interference from anti-competitive lawsuits,” says Shirley Wang, President of Plastpro. “We stand by our products and our position has been vindicated.” Plastpro said it pursued the action over six years to defend the integrity and innovation of its product, especially the Hydroshield Technology(TM) watertight engineering and materials formulation, which was developed by the company“s R&D department. Paula Franzese, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, said that the outcome of the case should lead to a more open and competitive marketplace. “The courts, in their wisdom, are rejecting patent infringement lawsuits that appear to be principally designed to restrain competition, and that“s a good thing for consumers as well as industry,” she said. Therma-Tru manufactures FRP composite, wood and steel doors, while Plastpro produces only in FRP. Plastpro compression molds fiber glass and polyester SMC into two shells over a polyurethane core, believing that this is more durable than other materials. In addition, Plastpro fabricates composite edges on its doors instead of wood.