Is Wrapid Bond a rip-off of Wrappingband? Dutch protective coatings maker Stopaq BV says yes, and it has won the first round of its court battle to prove so.
Wrappingband manufacturer Stopaq filed suit Jan. 15 in Mannheim, Germany, alleging infringement of patents related to the company’s green, self-healing, anti-corrosion coating and sealing technology.
Stopaq employees field-test a coating four years after application.
The suit against Canusa Systems Ltd. involves two products called Wrapid Bond that the ShawCor Ltd. subsidiary is trying to bring to the Dutch market.
The Preliminary Relief Judge of the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands ruled last week in favor of Stopaq on all points in its action against Canusa.
Visco-Elastic Pipeline Coating
Stopaq’s Wrappingband, used in corrosion protection and rehabilitation, is designed for multiple onshore, offshore and subsea pipeline applications. The visco-elastic coating contains a proprietary composition of fully amorphous polyisobutene polymers.
The lawsuit involves two patents applied to Stopaq’s Wrappingband coating and states that Canusa’s Wrapid Bond product line is an illegal copy. The lawsuit, which also lists directors and officers of Canusa as defendants, seeks permanent injunction, destruction of stocks and damages.
Canusa claimed before the court that it intended to bring two new Wrapid Bond products (styled RB-11 and RB-22) onto the Dutch market.
For more than 35 years, Toronto-based Canusa-CPS has developed and manufactured specialty pipeline coatings for the sealing and corrosion protection of pipeline joints and other substrates.
The company’s products include WrapidSeal, a manhole encapsulation system; Wrapid Sleeve, a one-piece wraparound corrosion-protection sleeve for buried and exposed steel pipelines; and Wrapid Tape, a primerless cross-linked protective tape.
Canusa had asked the judge to order Stopaq to accept that the Wrapid Bond products were outside the scope of Stopaq's patents and to refrain from making any comment that these products infringed such patents in the Netherlands.
The judge denied all of Canusa's requests, finding that the company had not substantiated its allegation that Stopaq had threatened to enforce its patents against Canusa or its customers in the Netherlands.
“The current patent infringement proceedings against Canusa in Germany do not equate to such a threat in the Netherlands,” Stopaq said in a statement. “The court further considered that Stopaq has no legal obligation to declare that Canusa's alleged new products do not infringe Stopaq's patents.”
‘Short-Circuit Our Rightful Protections’
"We are obviously pleased with the court's decision,” said Stopaq CEO J.F. Doddema. “The court emphatically rejected Canusa's attempt to short-circuit our rightful protections under the law and force us to accept their alleged new products, when in fact we have no knowledge that any of these products even exist in commercial form.”
“This was simply an effort on their side to distract us from the patent infringement litigation in Germany. We still feel very confident about our case."
Doddema said Stopaq had filed its suit because Wrappingband “is being knowingly and unfairly exploited. We spent over eight years of research and development to find the perfect product that stops corrosion and many more years to open this new market for visco-elastic material.”
“We invested many millions of Euros. It is disappointing that we have to resort to legal action to protect ourselves, but as our attempts to address this matter with Canusa were rebuffed, we had no choice. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our intellectual property is protected.”
Canusa did not respond to a request for comment.
The patent suit continues in Germany.