On March 9, a Portland, Ore., jury found in favor of Blount, Inc. (NYSE: BLT), which makes and sells chain saw chain, bar and accessories under its Oregon brand, in a patent infringement action against TriLink Saw Chain, LLC, TriLink Global, LLC, Jinhua TriLink Huihuang Co., and Jinhua Huihuang Hardware Co. The jury found claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 5,136,783 to be valid and infringed, and it awarded Blount nearly $2 million in damages for defendants’ past infringement of the patent.
The patent, still in effect, discloses a novel design for the nose sprocket in a chain saw guide bar. A guide bar is the bar that supports the chain on a chain saw. According to the testimony at trial, nose sprockets containing this technology, also called the CRADLE technology, last two to three times longer than nose sprockets using more conventional technology, allowing purchasers to enjoy both greater value and increased safety.
During trial, defendants’ representatives claimed they had copied or “modeled” their accused products on the guide bars from another company, the Carlton Company, and that they did not copy Blount’s bars. An important moment in the case came on March 3, 2009, when Carlton’s chief engineer testified that, based on their respective date codes, the specific Carlton guide bars defendants claimed to have copied could not have existed at the time defendants’ representatives claimed to have copied them.
Reached at the Portland, Ore.-based headquarters of Blount, Chairman and CEO James S. Osterman said, “This is an important victory for Blount and for innovators throughout the United States. Blount has worked very hard to be the leading innovator in saw chain, guide bar, and sprocket technology over the years. Blount International has more than 50 patents. This victory emphasizes that we will not allow companies to misappropriate our intellectual property. Our hard-working employees came up with the CRADLE technology found in the ’783 patent through years of dedicated effort, and Blount should enjoy the fruits of that labor for the term of the patent.”
Blount was represented by attorneys from Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt’s Seattle and Portland offices, including Paul H. Beattie, Christopher J. Lewis, and Devon Newman.
Blount International, Inc. is an international company operating one principal business segment, the Outdoor Products segment. Blount sells its products in more than 100 countries around the world. For more information about Blount, visit www.blount.com.