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Conair alleges Bessemer used its dryer technology at Novatec

Auxiliary equipment Conair Group Inc. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Novatec Inc., a company hea...


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April 19, 2009 by Canadian Plastics

Auxiliary equipment Conair Group Inc. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Novatec Inc., a company headed by Conrad Bessemer, a former Conair executive.

Conair claims that Novatec’s Intelli PET Drying System infringes on its patents, in the federal lawsuit Conair filed April 15 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.

“This isn’t a typical patent infringement case,” the lawsuit states. “This case involves the added intrigue of Conair’s long-time employee and former president, Conrad Bessemer.”

Cranberry, Pa.-based Conair employed Bessemer for nearly 20 years, including as its North American president from March 2002 to February 2006. He helped take over Baltimore, Md.-based Novatec in May 2006 and serves as that company’s president and chief executive officer.

Bessemer and Steve Maguire, majority shareholder of Novatec, issued a statement of their own on April 17, saying that Novatec does not violate the Conair patent, and the lawsuit “has no basis in fact.”

“It is also a deliberate effort to besmirch the reputation of Conrad Bessemer who has not worked at Conair in almost three-and-a-half years,” they said.

The lawsuit cites a Conair patent issued in 1996 titled “Apparatus and Method for Controlled Drying of Plastic Pellets.” Conair claims that Novatec’s Intelli PET infringes that patent.

“This is why we don’t infringe — because their software parent just isn’t necessary on Novatec proprietary systems,” Maguire said in their statement. “The bottom line is that we don’t come close to any of the claims in this Conair patent.”