EcoWeek,  November 14, 2005

New court ruling supports Zenon's patent litigation against US Filter

Zenon has received another favourable court ruling in its continuing legal dispute with US Filter. Following the court's rejection of several of US Filter's arguments for summary judgement, Zenon and US Filter have mutually agreed to dismiss their cases relating to U.S. patent 6,620,319 (known as the '319 patent), allowing both sides to appeal the court's earlier rulings.

This clears the way for Zenon to continue its infringement case against US Filter based on its '652 patent (i.e. U.S. patent 6,682,652) following the '319 appeal. This ruling, combined with one this past May in which the court also ruled in Zenon's favour (ELW May 16, 2005), has strengthened Zenon's position for an eventual injunction against US Filter's MemJet and CMF-S products. Zenon maintains that these products infringe upon its intellectual property, protected by patents issued in the United States.

"US Filter's attempts to invalidate our patent claims have all failed," said Zenon chairman and CEO Andrew Benedek. "This most recent ruling only serves to reaffirm and solidify Zenon's patents and in particular the '652 patent that is the grounds of further legal action against them. This most recent decision takes us one step closer to resolving the issues in Zenon's favour," he added.

In October 2003, Zenon initiated a patent infringement lawsuit against US Filter, seeking damages and an injunction to stop the sale, manufacture and use of certain of US Filter's immersed membrane products. In November 2004, in the course of the proceedings, the trial court issued a ruling containing an interpretation of the wording in the '319 patent. Zenon said it would appeal this ruling at the appropriate time.

In January 2005, Zenon filed a further action against US Filter alleging infringement of its '652 patent relating to an apparatus for withdrawing permeate. This is from the same patent family as the '319 patent but does not contain the same limitations as those involved in the '319 patent.

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