Update - VMI: Chinese raid factory accused of patent infringement
(Rubber News report)
Akron, Ohio – Chinese law enforcement officials have raided a Chinese factory, which VMI Group accused of making tire-building drums that infringe on VMI’s patents.
“After reports of infringement, VMI decided to take action and request an inspection of the factory involved,” VMI said. Chinese court officials are evaluating the information seized in the raid and are expected to issue a ruling soon, the company said.
VMI did not identify the company accused of infringing its patents, what remedies it is seeking, nor how long it might take Chinese authorities to make a determination in the case.
“It is an essential part of our strategy to protect our intellectual property vigorously,” said Harm Voortman, president and CEO of VMI, in the news release issued from company headquarters in Epe, Netherlands. “When our IP is challenged, we need to proceed with the next step and bring wrongdoers to court.”
Arie Kroeze, president of VMI Americas Inc. in Stow, Ohio, declined to reveal any information not already included in the news release.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of TKH Group NV, VMI is the world’s leading manufacturer of tire-building machinery. The company also offers global technical support from its offices in the Netherlands, the US, Brazil, China, Malaysia and Russia. It has more than 1,000 employees worldwide.
Update 12 August: ERJ spoke with VMI who confirmed that it does not own the factory. The operation in China is completely independent. VMI added that it expects a decision from the Chinese courts in about two months. A further announcement will be made at that time.
Update 14 August: VMI have issued a press release on their website confirming the information obtained by Rubber News and ERJ.