Bettcher Industries and Suhner Companies reach legal settlement
Bettcher Industries Inc., Suhner Turbo Trim LLC, Suhner Manufacturing Inc. and Otto Suhner AG have settled an action brought by Bettcher in the U.S. District Court in Northern Georgia, in which Bettcher alleged infringement of several patents held by it pertaining to its Whizard Series II-style trimmer blades.
As a result of earlier discussions with the Suhner companies, all sales by Suhner of the infringing products had ceased, effective September 1, 2013. In addition to ceasing the sale of infringing products, the Suhner companies have acknowledged that each of the asserted Bettcher patents is valid and enforceable.
The Suhner companies have also agreed not to challenge, cause to be challenged, or assist any others in challenging the validity and enforceability of any of the claims of the Bettcher patents.
The legal claims asserted among all parties have been settled and dismissed based upon the payment of an undisclosed lump sum to Bettcher Industries.
In related developments, Bettcher has agreed it would not assert infringement of its patents by a new Suhner trimmer design that is similar to Bettcher’s 1980s-era trimmer blade technology.
The announcement of this news follows a successful defense by Bettcher of a key Bettcher rotary knife blade patent in 2012 against challenges to that patent in federal court by Bunzl Processor Distribution, LLC and Exact Manufacturing & Machine, Inc.
Recently, Bettcher filed a new action against Hantover, Inc. and Heartland Fabrication & Machine, Inc., relating to Hantover’s sales of certain replacement parts for Bettcher trimmers. Bettcher had sued Hantover in 2006 for infringement, and had reached an agreement with Hantover in 2007 relating to those claims, wherein Hantover agreed to cease the manufacture of infringing products, admitted it had infringed certain Bettcher patents, and paid Bettcher an undisclosed sum. The new action alleging infringement against Hantover was filed on February 21, 2014 and is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western District, in Toledo.
These legal actions have been taken by Bettcher in order to reinforce the intellectual property rights it has obtained from the U.S. Government based on its many years of intensive research and development. Among other things, protection of these rights helps to protect the marketplace from “lookalike” products that are often substandard in their design or functionality.
Bettcher’s patented trimmer equipment, housings and blades deliver the highest degree of quality and performance. It is part of the company’s mission to continue to lead the industry with its meat trimming technology and applications, helping its customers drive more profits to their bottom line.