MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Multilayer Stretch Cling Film Holdings, Inc. announced today that on February 10, 2012, its attorneys filed six patent infringement lawsuits against nine stretch film companies in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Stretch cling film is wrapped around goods to bind them together securely during shipping. Multilayer’s patent covers stretch cling films of seven or more layers. The patented stretch cling films are not only stronger and more versatile than previous films, but also provide economic and environmental benefits because they can be manufactured at a lower cost per square foot than previous films.
The lawsuits, which were filed by Tennessee patent litigation attorneys Randy Michels, Bill Ferrell, and Melissa Smith at the law firm of Stites & Harbison, PLLC, allege that MSC Marketing and Technology, Inc. (doing business as Sigma Stretch Film), Alpha Industries, Inc., Berry Plastics Corporation, Inteplast Group, Ltd., AmTopp Corporation, Malpack Ltd., Alliance Plastics, LLC, Intertape Polymer Group, Inc., and AEP Industries Inc., each infringe U.S. Patent No. 6,265,055.
Multilayer’s patent was the subject of another lawsuit filed by the same patent litigation team at Stites & Harbison against stretch film manufacturer Pinnacle Films, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The patent withstood multiple challenges from Pinnacle in both the court and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including three unsuccessful attempts to invalidate the patent through reexamination requests filed in the patent office. Ultimately, Pinnacle filed bankruptcy on the eve of trial, and its bankruptcy estate has agreed to pay a multi-million dollar award of damages for its infringement of the patent.
“During the pendency of the dispute with Pinnacle, more and more stretch film manufacturers began to adopt the superior technology of Multilayer’s patent without a license. Now that the Pinnacle litigation has been resolved and the PTO has confirmed the validity of the patent a third time, we are able to pursue these other infringers,” stated Stites patent litigation attorney Michels.
These are the first patent infringement cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee since its selection for the Patent Pilot Program in June of 2011. The Patent Pilot Program is a ten-year project designed to enhance expertise in patent cases among U.S. district judges. The Western District of Tennessee was selected for this project because, among other things, the District has adopted local rules for patent cases. These rules are designed to streamline patent litigation cases, which are notoriously complex and expensive. Stites patent litigation attorney Smith believes these local patent rules, combined with her firm’s experience with the patent and the related technology, should result in a speedy resolution that is cost effective for all parties involved. “Our firm has a great deal of experience with this patent,” Smith stated. “[Stites patent attorney] Richard Myers filed the original patent application and successfully guided the patent through three reexaminations at the patent office. Our patent litigation team recently brought the Pinnacle case to a successful conclusion after years of contentious litigation. We believe the evidence of infringement is strong in the cases we filed today, and hope to negotiate licenses with the defendants without protracted litigation.” Another member of Stites’ patent litigation team, Bill Ferrell, added, “If not, our track record shows that we are willing and able to litigate these cases to their conclusions.”