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Ishida multihead weigher

Last week we posted an article that multihead weigher manufacturer Ishida filed an injunction against 3 Chinese exhibitors at the Interpack. Ishida accuses them of infringing their patents.

As a result, the companies involved (High Dream, Jinyi and Saimo) were forced to remove the multihead weighers or cover them up.

Co-incidentally, I was visiting one of the involved stands at Interpack when they started to cover up the multihead weigher.

It is surprising that you hear this type of stories not more often.

Let me first disclose to you that I am probably biased in the area of patents, since I have several potato processing related patents on my name. It is no coincidence that this action of Ishida happened at the Interpack:

The machines involved were displayed in the stands, so Ishida staff or their lawyers could inspect the machines and consequently make a reasonable case that according to their view an Ishida patent was infringed.

Patent rights are not enforced to the same extend in each country. Infamous in this context are India and especially China. Patents also are only valid in those countries where a patent was requested and issued. So in most cases there are places where you could use equipment or a process even though it was patented in another country.

But Germany is an important country for (packaging) machine manufacturers and patent law is strictly applied, as the story shows...

What better place to make a statement like this, with the whole packaging world gathered at this huge event?

So why do you hear these stories not more often? Are there so few patents in the potato processing sector? Is no one infringing on the patents that exist? So what is going on?

A clue for the reason could be in this article, where a representative from Saimo states that they don’t think they infringe on any of Ishida’s patents. This is where the arguing back and forth begins. And Saimo also announced that when the final conclusion is that they did not infringe on Ishida’s patent(s), they will seek financial compensation…

However this story ends, this could very well be a milestone in the competition between established packaging equipment suppliers and their Chinese competitors. Has a new phase begun? If so, a good time for patent lawyers could be ahead.