Polyester terephthalate (PET) supplier M&G (Tortona, Italy) is pushing ahead with patent infringement proceedings in Germany against rigid packaging processor Alpla Werke (Hard, Austria) and one of its customers, Red Bull Deutschland GmbH (Red Bull).
The proceedings were initiated by M&G subsidiary Cobarr SpA. It claims that packaging provided by Alpla and used by Red Bull infringe the claims of EP 0 964 031 B1 with the corresponding German Patent No. DE 699 16 174 T2.
As legal proceedings often do, this one will stretch out over months. The judge overseeing the case ordered the defendants to submit their responses by June 2, 2009, and Cobarr has until Nov. 2, 2009 to submit its response, with the oral hearing scheduled for late January 2010.
Alpla did not reply to PlasticsToday requests for more information by press time. M&G officials, through a spokesman, offered few concrete details but allowed that the European patent in question covers, among other things, the molding of PET preforms containing nylon domains of specified sizes and the blowmolding of bottles made from those preforms. “Although the discovery was made by M&G in the late ‘90s, the industry’s use of polyester-nylon monolayer blends in barrier packages has only become popular in recent years,” noted the spokesman, and this increased use of monolayer PET barrier packaging caused M&G to ensure its intellectual property was being protected. “With an increasing number of barrier solutions coming on to the market, The M&G Group feels that it is the right time to stand its ground and protect its IP rights,” stated the supplier in a release. —[email protected]