Alpla wins German PET patent infringement case but Cobarr vows appeal

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Appeal, Patent application

Austrian bottle and preform producer Alpla said it has secured an important legal victory in its battle with Italian company Cobarr over a disputed PET patent.

Alpla said that the German Patent Court had revoked Cobarr’s European patent 0 964 031 with all claims directed to a polyester resin having average nylon domain sizes between 0.2 and less than 1 micron except for those requiring premixing with and/or the presence of a dianhydride. The decision only has jurisdiction in Germany.

Cobarr is a subsidiary of Milan-based M&G (Mossi & Ghisolfi) Group. A company spokesman confirmed the firm would be appealing the decision.

But Alpla signalled its determination to continue with the legal battle.

“Alpla is determined to continue until the patent infringement suit is definitely rejected,”​ a company spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com

Long-running dispute

The dispute began in 2008 when Cobarr launched legal action against Alpla under this patent in the Düsseldorf Court for infringement.

Alpla said it had filed a Nullity Action with the German Patent Court which earlier this month found in its favour.

“This decision is not final yet since it can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court, but it has, for the time being, destroyed the basis for Cobarr’s pending litigation which will very likely be stayed until a final decision on the validity has been reached”,​ said an Alpla statement.

A company spokesman said the decision was a good one for the polyester bottle market, adding he hoped Cobarr and M&G would now “focus on supplying the industry with the products they need” ​rather than invoking legal action.

Alpla said the German Patent Court’s decision supported the European Patent Office’s rulings “revoking some of the overly broad subjective claims of Cobarr’s patent regarding ‘coloured barrier bottles’ (EP-B-1 590 398), which decision is now under appeal at the EPO”.

The Austrian company employs almost 11,000 employees at 128 plants in 37 countries. It manufacturers bottle, performs, caps and tubes, posting a turnover in 2009 of €2.145bn.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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