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Friday, July 17, 2015

PURE PLANET GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST PLAINTIFF NATURAL CHEMISTRY IN SWIMMING POOL CHEMICAL CASE

PURE PLANET GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST PLAINTIFF NATURAL CHEMISTRY IN SWIMMING POOL CHEMICAL CASE

DALLAS, Texas, July 14, 2015 Fairview-based pool chemical company Pure Planet Science and Technologies, Inc., dba Orenda Technologies, was recently granted summary judgment in a breach of contract dispute with Natural Chemistry. Pure Planet then agreed to a settlement of its remaining counterclaim.

The dispute originated in 2013, when Natural Chemistry filed a lawsuit against Pure Planet Science and Technologies, Inc. in the Middle District of Florida claiming patent infringement, breach of contract, disparagement and conspiracy. The case stemmed from a previously settled lawsuit in which Natural Chemistry had made similar patent-infringement claims against a small Arizona pool chemical supplier. After that case was settled, Pure Planet purchased the assets of the Arizona supplier, including the rights to the trade name (Orenda Technologies).

PRESS RELEASE

Three years later, Natural Chemistry filed the same claim against Pure Planet. Both lawsuits appear to have been intended to prevent Natural Chemistry’s competitors from producing certain products, even though those products were not protected by Natural Chemistry’s patents. Natural Chemistry then claimed that when Pure Planet bought the assets of Orenda Technologies, Inc., it became bound by the settlement agreement with Orenda Technologies, Inc. That allegation proved to be a bridge too far.

“This case was never about patent
infringement, and it was obviously never about breach of contract either. Rather, it was a classic case of a larger company bullying a smaller competitor by abusing the legal system in an effort to bolster its market position.”

On July 22, 2014, Pure Planet filed counterclaims against Natural Chemistry alleging that it falsely labeled its products “Made in the U.S.A.” and as being covered by various expired or otherwise inapplicable patents. After these counterclaims were filed, Natural Chemistry voluntarily made responsive changes to its product labels.

“Large companies are more frequently using their size and irrelevant patents to intimidate small competitors with legal action to try to control the market. The strategy relies on the threat of the cost of defending a patent infringement case, rather than the damages themselves,” says John Fischer, Pure Planet’s lead counsel. He continues, “In this case, Natural Chemistry extracted a settlement agreement from a prior defendant that prohibited that defendant from making products that were not protected by Natural Chemistry’s patents, and then attempted to enforce that agreement against another competitor who was never a party to the original settlement.”

In issuing summary judgment, the Court rejected each of Natural Chemistry’s legal theories for binding Pure Planet as a party to the settlement agreement made in the previous lawsuit. In its Order for Summary Judgment, the Court states, “Contrary to Plaintiff’s argument, an asset purchaser does not impliedly assume contractual obligations simply by being aware of the corporation’s prior obligations...Here, the asset purchase agreement expressly disclaims successor liability.”


We are gratified that the federal court found Natural Chemistry’s case legally insufficient,says Pure Planet attorney James Pikl. “This case was never about patent infringement, and it was obviously never about breach of contract either. Rather, it was a classic case of a larger company bullying a smaller competitor by abusing the legal system in an effort to bolster its market position. Hopefully, the nation’s customers will tell Natural Chemistry, in no uncertain terms, that its abusive tactics are not acceptable in the marketplace.”

SOURCE: Orenda Technologies
CAUSE/CASE NO:
6:13-cv-1607-Orl-31KRS
COURT: U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (Orlando Division)
Contact:
John Fischer
Scheef & Stone, LLP 214-706-4201 John.fischer@solidcounsel.com 

1 comment:

Pooland spareps said...

Congratulations to the Orenda team!