In the dispute with VMI, he said Safe-Run went on the offensive by filing suit because VMI was telling customers that the Chinese firm was infringing on its patents. “But they never proved it,” Seidel said. “They didn’t go to court and open suit against them. And now we have sued them.”
Seidel said his company can’t understand is how VMI would think Safe-Run could sell machines in the market using infringed patents.
“It’s simply impossible,” he said. “So we will not have patent infringement. This is a really clear statement. We are collaborating with one of the best law firms in Shanghai and with German law firms. Our machines will not infringe patents. We are highly focused because we know no one would buy machines from whomever with such problems. No one in the world anymore.”
Neither company would speculate on what the next moves will be in the IP case.
Voortman acknowledged it’s not easy to fight alleged IP violations in China, but that the legal system there has improved the last couple of years. “That gives us a better basis for filing cases like this,” he said. “In general you can say it has made it a little bit easier to protect your rights. On the other hand, it is still a very complicated fight. We think it is worth picking up this fight.”
He added that it’s not something VMI likes to do, that it would much rather focus on its customers.
“We believe in developing technology, bringing the industry a step forward,” Voortman said. “That is our main focus. And in order to be successful in that, we have to work very hard, very diligently. Work with the customers. Listen to the customers. Do the development and, if needed, product our rights. And we will do so. We are convinced that we have a very strong case.”
Seidel said when it deals with potential customers that have heard these claims, the only way it can address it is by presenting Safe-Run’s set of technical facts. “How you can fight against rumors is with facts,” he said. “We are a young company. VMI has the better reputation, so people believe VMI mentally. But we will fight with facts. It’s the only way for us. And we have good facts.”
ERJ edited version of Rubber & Plastics News report