By: Jim Rosenberg
Approximately six months after filing a patent-infringement lawsuit against GMA, Goss International Americas Inc. filed a similar action against K&M Newspaper Services Inc., serving the president of the Monroe, N.Y., post-press systems manufacturer with a summons and complaint at its Nexpo exhibit in Chicago on April 3.
As in the earlier suit, Goss alleges that K&M continues to infringe, directly or otherwise, Goss’ patent for a Variable Speed Signature Collating Apparatus – in this case, in the manufacture, use, and/or sale of K&M’s Titan G3 and G60 inserters.
Asking for a jury trial, Goss asserts that it has been irreparably damaged by intentional infringement, for which it seeks an injunction agaisnt K&M, treble compensatory damages and attorney fees and costs.
K&M is expected to answer the suit next week, and a status hearing was set for May 1 in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois.
The patent at issue relates to shaftless servo-drive technology that Goss uses in its Magnapak packaging system. The patent was awarded to Heidelberg in 2000 and assigned to Goss upon Goss’ acquisition of much of Heidelberg’s business in 2004. K&M delivered its first G3 three years ago, according to the company.
A prepared statement released by Goss stated, “We respect the intellectual property rights of competitors and we will enforce our own intellectual property rights vigorously to support an environment of fair competition and innovation.”
“We don’t infringe on this patent, period,” declared K&M founder and president Mark Jacobs, who, noting the time and place of service, called the suit “a public relations thing.”
Explaining the months separating the actions against GMA and K&M, Goss Marketing Manger Greg Norris said the suit against K&M was brought in April because that was “as soon as we were prepared with the evidence of the infringement.”
As for the venue of service, Norris said it was “decided by our legal counsel … located in Chicago … at whatever was the most opportune time for them.”
Jacobs responded, “They’ve got a patent on one specific thing, and we don’t do it.” Awaiting more information from Goss and discussions with their lawyer, Jacobs and his research and development director, Andy Klopfenstein, declined to elaborate at this point in the proceedings
Klopfenstein was in charge of mechanical engineering for Heidelberg at the time the apparatus was invented in Dayton, Ohio. Questioning the value of the patent, he and Jacobs said in a telephone interview that documents show the patent office rejected Heidelberg’s application a few times before granting the patent.
In a subsequent e-mail, Jacobs wrote, “Goss has not specified in any way why they believe we infringe, and to the best of our knowledge, our inserters operate differently than the inserters covered by Goss’s Patent.”
Because he handled the application for the patent in question, K&M’s Dayton-based attorney could not take the case. For that reason, K&M retained Michael J. Garvin of the firm of Hahn Loeser & Parks, LLP, in Cleveland, to represent it.
“We’re going to win the case,” said Jacobs, adding that doing so could cost K&M $300,000 to $500,000. He said K&M wants to case to move quickly, but understands that the suit against much-larger GMA was filed first, and that it is possible that the matter will be concluded before K&M has its day in court.
Late last year, GMA denied its SLS3000 inserter infringed the patent, said the patent should be invalidated, and filed a motion for dismissal and a counterclaim.