Court rejects arguments raised by Romac Industries
Krauz Industries Ltd., a manufacturer of water pipe joining and repair devices, announced it has successfully defended the validity of a key product patent.
"The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) confirmed, for the second time, the validity of our patent, and it rejected the arguments raised by Romac Industries," said Danny Krausz, president of Krausz, which partners in the U.S. with Total Piping Solutions (TPS) for the distribution of its HyMax product. "Given all the time and energy our team has spent creating innovative, easy-to-install water pipe joining and repair devices that are so valuable to our U.S. customers, this reaffirmation of our intellectual property is an important milestone for us. We look forward to continuing to build our business in the U.S."
This past spring, the PTO conducted a thorough reexamination of U.S. Patent No. 6,293,556 (the ‘556 patent) at the request of Romac Industries. On May 22, the PTO issued the Notice of Intent to Issue Ex Parte Reexamination Certificate, which confirmed the validity of the claims of the ‘556 patent.
In reaching its decision, the PTO reconsidered all of the “prior art” cited during the original prosecution, and it also considered the substantial amounts of additional prior art Romac Industries and Krausz submitted. The ‘556 patent will remain in force until 2018. The patent covers the novel two-piece hydraulic gasket portion of the HyMax, Krausz's flagship product, as well as Krausz’s gasket/end ring combination. HyMax is a technology repair device used for joining pipes of various diameters, materials and tolerances.
In 2009, Krausz took legal action against Romac Industries Inc., upon discovering that Romac was selling a system Krausz alleged infringed its patents. In that case, Krausz Industries, Ltd. v. Romac Industries, Inc., No. C10-1204 RSL (Western District of Washington), the court entered an order on May 9, 2012—at Krausz’s request—enforcing the settlement agreement between Krausz and Romac.