Kanawha company says others guilty of patent infringement

By Kelly Holleran | May 7, 2009

CLARKSBURG – A Kanawha County company has filed suit against six other companies, alleging they are guilty of patent infringement.

Walhonde Tools says two of the defending companies have sold, offered to sell and marketed tools that infringe on a 500 patent Walhonde holds from June 29, 1990.

The remaining companies purchased and used the tools in boiler tube installation and repair, according to the complaint filed April 16 in federal court.

However, all the defending companies infringed on Walhonde's patent because by license agreements dated Nov. 11, 1991, and Dec. 18, 1992, Walhonde became the exclusive licensee of the 500 patent, the company claims.

The patent is for a bolt-type boiler wall tube tool, the complaint says.

According to the patent for the tool, the invention "relates to a tool for use in clampingly securing the ends of boiler tubes in aligned relation to enable the end of the boiler tubes to be joined together by welding."

The defending companies include Wilson Works, Northco, Naes Power Contractors, Minnotte Contracting Corporation, Foster Wheeler Zach and Day and Zimmerman NPS.

When Wilson Works and Northco began selling the infringing tools to other companies and power plants, Walhonde claims it lost income.

"The Defendants have conspired together and aided and abetted each other in interfering with Plaintiff's business relationships and infringing upon the 500 patent," the suit states.

In the three-count suit, Walhonde is seeking a decree that the defending companies infringed on its patent and that the infringement was willful. It is also seeking a decree that prohibits employees of the companies from further infringement on the patent.

It is asking that a preliminary injunction, and eventually a permanent injunction, be granted on Wilson Works and Northco that restrains them from selling tools that fall within the scope of the 500 patent. It is also asking for a preliminary and permanent injunction against the remaining defendant companies that would prohibit them from using tools that fall within the scope of the 500 patent.

Walhonde is asking the court to order all of the defendant companies' infringing tools to be brought to it and is seeking unspecified exemplary and punitive damages, plus costs.

Robert R. Waters, Jason A. Poling and Olen L. York III of Waters Law Group in Huntington and Robert B. Allen and Pamela C. Dean of Allen, Guthrie and Thomas in Charleston will be representing it.

U.S. District Court case number: 1:09-CV-00048

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