In a prepared statement, DuPont says that Cortron, based in Minnesota, agrees to immediately cease manufacturing LAVA thermal flexographic printing plate processors, as well as to immediately discontinue providing all service, spare parts, and technical support for any LAVA equipment used to thermally develop flexographic printing plates. Thermal processing equipment manufactured by Cortron has been marketed and sold by MacDermid Printing Solutions under the LAVA trade name.
MacDermid Printing Solutions, in a statement by its president, Michael Siegmund, responded to DuPont’s announcement by declaring that it will continue to sell, support and service its entire thermal product line, including the processing equipment.
“At DuPont, we take the matter of intellectual property and the value of our patents very seriously. If we believe our patents are being infringed, we will protect them vigorously,” says Linda B. West, vice president and general manager of DuPont Imaging Technologies. “We must protect our investment in Cyrel FAST technology if we are to continue to invest in sustainable innovations for the packaging industry. We are pleased that Cortron promptly agreed to stop manufacturing the current LAVA thermal processing equipment for MacDermid after DuPont notified Cortron that the equipment infringes one of DuPont’s patents.”
In May 2008, DuPont won an appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a patent infringement lawsuit against MacDermid Printing Solutions. The appeals court upheld a lower court’s determination “that MacDermid did not dispute infringement” of DuPont’s patent covering thermally developed flexographic printing plates. It further noted that “the lower court correctly ruled that DuPont had shown a reasonable likelihood that MacDermid infringes one of DuPont’s patents.”
MacDermid’s Siegmund takes issue with DuPont’s statement. “A recent press release by Dupont has inappropriately raised some questions regarding MacDermid’s ability to support this product line,” he says. “MacDermid wishes to assure its customers that it will continue to sell, support and service its entire thermal product line, including the processing equipment. The recent industry announcement is not anticipated to affect MacDermid’s LAVA customers or MacDermid’s ability and commitment to providing these products to its customers with the highest level of service and satisfaction.
As part of a 2006 photopolymer plate patent infringement lawsuit with DuPont, MacDermid has filed a counterclaim “in an effort to curtail what MacDermid believes is inappropriate competitive activity by DuPont,” Siegmund says. “In our counterclaim, MacDermid has alleged, among other things, that DuPont has (i) attempted to inappropriately suppress competition, (ii) attempted monopolization of portions of the flexographic plate market, (iii) engaged in inappropriate restraint of trade, and (iv) used invalid patents to inappropriately suppress competition. MacDermid hopes that its efforts to protect free competition in portions of the flexographic printing market will benefit the entire market, including MacDermid’s customers.
“We will not be bullied by DuPont’s inappropriate use of market power and our legal system," says Siegmund. “MacDermid is committed to defending its technology so that it may provide its customers with a full range of plate technologies. This allows our customers to choose which product is best for them.”