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St. Louis-Based U.S. Ring Wins Post-Trial Motions in Patent Infringement Case Involving Ring Binder Mechanism

Monday, April 19, 2010

Court rules against China-based World Wide Stationery Manufacturing on all motions

St. Louis, MO -- On April 14, a federal judge denied all post-trial motions filed by China-based World Wide Stationery Manufacturing Co. Ltd. after a jury unanimously decided in favor of defendant U.S. Ring, declaring two of the Chinese company’s patents invalid.

“Once again the federal court has made it clear that U.S. Ring’s Insta-Clik mechanism, used in three-ring binders, does not infringe on any valid patents,” says Bob Premnath, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Ring. “The industry faces a number of problems such as runaway steel cost and labor shortages. Using the patent system to overwhelm a much smaller competitor should not be added to the list.”

Since 1913, global supplier U.S. Ring has manufactured ring metals. In 2008, World Wide Stationery began sending letters claiming patent infringement to companies that purchased U.S. Ring’s Insta-Clik binder. In 2009, sales of the Insta-Clik binder fell by 90 percent from the previous year.

In the civil suit, World Wide Stationery alleged that the Insta-Clik binder infringed on two United States patents.

U.S. Ring denied the allegations and asserted two defenses: first, that the Insta-Clik mechanism did not infringe on World Wide Stationery’s patents; and, second, that the patents were invalid because they did not cover new inventions and some of the elements had been invented in the early 1900s. In its counterclaim, U.S. Ring asserted that World Wide Stationery made false statements to its customers. It sought a declaration that the patents were invalid and unenforceable.

The jury concluded that World Wide Stationery’s patents were invalid because they did not cover a new invention. World Wide Stationery then filed three post-trial motions asking for a new trial or a judgment as matter of law.

U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri Carol E. Jackson denied the motions. (World Wide Stationery Manufacturing Co., Ltd. v. U.S. Ring Binder, L.P., cause no. 4:07cv1947.)

U.S. Ring Binder was represented by Anthony G. Simon and Timothy E. Grochocinski of St. Louis’ The Simon Law Firm.

U.S. Ring Binder produces the metal ring mechanisms found in loose leaf binders, notebooks and day planners, as well as clips for clipboards and lever arch mechanisms.

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