Sponsored By

The Epoch times, a relatively young (2003) newspaper with most of its readership on the Internet, published in 17 languages and claiming to be the largest of any Chinese-language newspaper published outside of Mainland China and Taiwan, has an interesting article in its March 29, 2011 issue about a relatively young plastics processor (1999) who is suing one of its former customers for theft of its intellectual property.

Matt Defosse

March 30, 2011

2 Min Read
Processor suing Lenovo for theft of thermoforming IP

The Epoch times, a relatively young (2003) newspaper with most of its readership on the Internet, published in 17 languages and claiming to be the largest of any Chinese-language newspaper published outside of Mainland China and Taiwan, has an interesting article in its March 29, 2011 issue about a relatively young plastics processor (1999) who is suing one of its former customers for theft of its intellectual property. Readers should know that the newspaper was founded by followers of Falun Gong, the spiritual practice banned in China, and that there is no love lost between the newspaper and the Chinese government; in fact, the newspaper is banned in Mainland China.

A tale of stolen IP is unfortunately not new, but what gives this one weight is that the processor, thermoformer Reflex Packaging (San Francisco), is suing Lenovo, one of the world's largest manufacturers of personal computers and the company that most directly personifies China's global manufacturing strength. Lenovo is partially owned by the Chinese government. The case has not yet gone to court and Lenovo is fighting Reflex's charges.

The photos accompanying the article of the original Reflex packaging, which is used to hold a computer in place in a box, and the thermoformed packaging now used by Lenovo, are similar but with some differences. It will be for the lawyers to decide at what point Reflex's IP is infringed. Click on the photos to get a closer look on your screen.

The story, though, is taken in context of Western manufacturers' worries about IP theft in China, and the difficulty they have in winning a case against a Chinese-owned company; in this case, a company that is among the country's brightest stars. Reflex was a supplier to IBM before it was taken over by Lenovo; its relationship with Lenovo ended in 2008 because, claims Reflex's GM, "Lenovo wanted Reflex to remove its name and patent number from the products." He refused, and Lenovo took its business elsewhere. 

We'll keep tracking this case.

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like