AFG and Asahi Get Award in Patent Infringement Suit Against Cardinal IG

AFG Industries Inc. and its parent Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. have won a patent infringement suit against Cardinal IG Co. Inc. involving a low-E coating. A federal district court jury in Greeneville, Tenn., awarded the companies over $25 million in damages and, with prejudgment interest, the total judgment exceeds $43.6 million.

The lawsuit was initially brought in 1996 and involved a patent owed by AFG and Asahi that covered a five layered double silver low-E coating for glass. The companies claimed that Cardinal's LoE2 products had a coating whose layer design fell squarely within the claim terms of this patent and, therefore, infringed it. Cardinal had sold these products to window manufacturers throughout the United States from 1991 through 2001. AFG and Asahi claimed that Cardinal was able to secure major window customers and dominate the soft coat low-E market during the 1990s by using their patented coating and were seeking damages from Cardinal for this activity.

After the trial, the federal district court judge ruled the evidence proved that Cardinal's LoE2 products sold during the period specified infringed the patent. The case was then sent to the jury to determine the damages that should be awarded. On August 1, the jury awarded AFG and Asahi $25.14 million in damages plus interest which was later determined by the judge.

The lawsuit went through three intervening appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit during which the Federal Circuit established the claim construction that was used to interpret the patent claim as it related to Cardinal's LoE2 products, culminating in the jury verdict for AFG and Asahi.

"Cardinal has appeal options so this may not be the final step," stated Christopher Correnti, AFG general counsel, "but we are confident in the decisions of the judge and jury in this case, and significant interest will continue to accrue during the appeal process."

Cardinal will indeed appeal said Roger O'Shaughnessy, chief executive officer of Cardinal Glass Industries.

It will be appealed on invalidity and ability to hold trial on this basis. "The judge said that we couldn't try the case on validity because of a technicality and we believe he was wrong in that assessment. Therefore, we will be appealing this before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.," stated O'Shaughnessy. He said Cardinal believes the patent in invalid.

He pointed out that if the appeals court agrees with Cardinal it can then send the case back for another trial or it can declare that the patent is invalid.

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