One Settlement, Four Infringement Suits Pending for Goss
Posted: 8/30/2007  |  By: Jim Rosenberg
While Goss International and Japanese competitor Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho carry on their contest well after Goss prevailed in its administrative and judicial efforts, Goss has settled one U.S. patent-infringement law suit, while two others are still headed toward trials. More recently, the press manufacturer headquartered in Bolingbrook, Ill., also filed suit against two press parts suppliers for copyright infringement.

Based on information that came to light during its suit, Goss has sought further government action against TKS and its U.S. sales and service subsidiary TKS (USA) Inc., and has sought the help of both U.S. senators from New Hampshire, where it has operations in Dover and Durham. See "New Hampshire Union Leader" story, August, 12.

At the same time, TKS is suing Goss and its Japanese subsidiary in Tokyo District Court, according to a Jiji Press report earlier this month. The action is taken under Japan's clawback legislation (E&P Online, June 28), which enables the press maker to seek recovery of damages and costs awarded Goss in its antidumping suit against TKS. It is the first case brought under the "Special Measures" or "Damages Recovery" law enacted by Japan in response to the suit brought by Goss under the since-repealed 1916 Antidumping Law, the penalties of which the World Trade Organization determined were in conflict with the terms of trade treaties to which the United States is bound.

Meanwhile, Goss has settled its suit against K&M Newspaper Services, Monroe, N.Y. and is pursuing other patent-infringement suits against another post-press equipment manufacturer, Muller Martini Mailroom Systems, and against German press maker MAN Roland.

The Muller Martini suit arose from allegations against GMA, Allentown, Pa., before that newspaper mailroom systems developer took its Swiss parent company's name. A suit against MAN Roland was first filed by Heidelberg Harris, the former U.S. unit of German press manufacturer Heidelberger. Later Heidelberg Web Systems, most of that U.S. business was acquired by Goss in 2004.

In Goss v. K&M, Goss alleged that the defendant's Titan G30 and G60 inserters infringed a patent, awarded to Heidelberg in 2000 and assigned to Goss, for a Variable Speed Signature Collating Apparatus -- shaftless servo-drive technology that Goss uses in its Magnapak packaging system.

Goss filed the suit in April 2006. In June of that year, a federal court in Illinois rejected its consolidation with a suit against Muller Martini. Last April, K&M and Goss reached a settlement. Each party will pay its own costs; neither side will comment on other terms of the settlement; and both companies continue to sell the relevant packaging equipment.

The suit against Muller Martini continues. Goss alleges that the defendant's SLS3000 inserter infringes the same patent granted in 2000. GMA/Muller Martini filed a counterclaim seeking, among other things, to have the patent declared invalid (E&P, April 2006).

A hearing on a Goss motion to compel discovery and for a ruling to show cause why Muller Martini should not be held in contempt has been rescheduled for Sept. 4.

A spokesman for Muller Martini Mailroom Systems says the company has no comment while still in legal proceedings.

Infringement of Variable Speed Signature Collating may not have been alleged before Goss acquired Heidelberg, but with respect to its Sunday press technology, Heidelberg did prevail in 1990s patent-infringement complaints. Elements of the Sunday technology, notably the sleeve blanket, were used in the design of the Mainstream press, the one-around, four-page-wide press with which Heidelberg re-entered the market for large newspaper presses.

Unresolved in mediation last summer, the suit against MAN Roland filed in late 2003 was set for a jury trial early last month but is now rescheduled for a two-week period beginning Oct. 1.

In June of this year, Goss asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to enjoin All Press Parts Inc., Oshkosh, Wis., and A-American Machine & Assembly Co., Rockford, Ill., from copying and using its parts diagrams. It seeks jury trials and actual damages in both cases.

Goss complains that without its permission both parts companies have used on their Web sites exact duplicates of Goss' copyrighted diagrams.

Away from their offices Thursday, neither company's owner could be reached immediately for comment. All Press owner Randal Coakley is a veteran of Goss litigation, going back to the 17-year legal struggle over clones of the Goss Community press (E&P, Feb. 19, 2001).