1 Juli 2007

Lumber maker suing Dow over formula

Federal Way, Wash.-based lumber products giant Weyerhaeuser Co. is suing Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co. over a patented “oriented” wood-plastic composite extrusion technology. The lawsuit was filed June 21 in U.S. District Court in Wilmington.

In court filings, Weyerhaeuser officials said they acquired the technology when they bought Guelph, Ontario-based PSA Composites LLC in October. According to the complaint, Weyerhaeuser officials believe Dow may be trying to commercialize products using Weyerhaeuser’s newly acquired, patented composites formula. Dow officials may believe that they have a legal right to it due to a relationship with a possible third-party co-inventor, the complaint said. Steven Balick, Weyerhaeuser’s lawyer, said neither he nor the company would comment on the dispute. Dow spokesman Scot Wheeler said the company has not been served with any legal papers, and declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, Frank Maine and William Newson invented the “second generation” of wood-plastic composites. Maine mentioned the technology in a June 11 piece he wrote for the PlasticsTrends.net Web site. Orientation, he said, is used to “increase the thermoplastic polymer’s properties enormously.”

Weyerhaeuser is “planning to manufacture low-density composites that are twice as strong and half the weight of the first-generation WPCs,” Maine said.

(Cf. news of 2007-06-20, 2005-12-06 and 2007-01-23.)

Source: PLASTICS NEWS, 2007-06-28.

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