Court Partially Nullifies ‘Fire-Safe’ Paper Patent

    Photo: Vitalii Vodolazskyi

    The German Federal Court of Justice has partially nullified a European patent assigned to U.S. paper manufacturer Schweitzer-Mauduit International (SWM), reports Juve Patent.

    European patent 1 482 815 protects a paper with reduced ignition proclivity characteristics used for manufacturing cigarettes. The papers are treated with film-forming solutions, which makes them less permeable to oxygen. As such, the embers inside the cigarette cannot easily spread to any material it may be lying on. This is to prevent fires caused by dropped or discarded cigarettes.

    In 2015, SWM sued Julius Glatz, insisting the German company’s Cigla brand of cigarette papers infringed on its patents. After much legal back-and-forth, Julius Glatz stopped its production of the disputed papers, closing production facilities and laying off employees.

    Following the recent ruling, Julius Glatz announced it would restart production with immediate effect. “As the patent in suit was held invalid, Julius Glatz GmbH and its daughter company LIPtec GmbH never infringed a valid patent,” the company wrote in a statement.

    “Glatz is assuring the high quality, service level and competitiveness the industry is used from them in all paper segments and is therefore proud to say, that they are back as a full-service supplier, meaning with LIP-papers, too.”

    Julius Glatz is demanding almost €40 million ($46.3 million) from SWM in compensation for the damages it suffered in the dispute.