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E&P Technical: Insert This

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

E&P Technical: Insert This

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by Jim Rosenberg

Two American heavyweights in engineering and manufacturing heavy equipment for newspapers are squaring off in a patent-infringement lawsuit.

Early last fall, Goss International, headquartered in Bolingbrook, Ill., filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Graphic Management Associates in Allentown, Pa., and its parent company, Muller Martini, Zofingen, Switzerland. Discovery in the case is scheduled to run through late November.

Goss alleges that GMA's SLS3000 inserter is among products infringing a patent it was awarded on July 4, 2000, for a "Variable Speed Signature Collating Apparatus."

More specifically, Goss marketing manager Greg Norris told E&P that the patent relates to the shaftless servo-drive technology that Goss uses in its Magnapak packaging system.

In December, GMA and Muller Martini denied that Goss' patent was "duly or legally issued." Muller Martini moved to dismiss "for lack of personal jurisdiction and to quash service of process as insufficient." For that reason, Muller Martini said, it saw no need to answer or deny Goss' allegations.

GMA and Muller Martini argue that the invention in the patent at issue was patented or described in publication, or was in public use or on sale more than a year before the first application for its patent.

The defendants further state:

* The "alleged invention ... is described in patents granted on applications filed in the United States by third persons prior to the alleged invention thereof" by those named in the Fourth of July patent.

* Differences between the prior art and the alleged invention make the subject matter of the patent obvious to a person competent in the field.

* Patent claims made to distinguish the invention from prior art were so narrow in meaning and scope "that the claims do not describe or embrace any product made, used, sold, or offered for sale by GMA and/or Muller Martini".

* The infringement claim is barred because its undue delay results in witnesses' fading memories and the likely destruction of documents.

Arguing that it was irreparably damaged, Goss asks the court to enjoin GMA from further acts of infringement and award Goss triple compensatory damages, plus attorneys' fees and costs.

The defendants' counterclaim seeks to have the complaint dismissed, the patent declared invalid and not infringed by GMA and Muller Martini, and attorneys' fees and costs awarded. …

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