A federal court jury in Delaware has decided that MOSO, a manufacturer of a bamboo board with multiple uses, violated the patent of rival bamboo product manufacturer Dasso. Atlanta-based Easoon USA LLC, which holds the rights to sell Dasso in the U.S., now is pushing for a permanent injunction to keep MOSO's product from being sold in this country.
While this 6-year-long legal fight reaches an end, both Dasso and MOSO are preparing to ramp up their promotion of bamboo in American decks and homes, and MOSO is revising its manufacturing process. Building material dealers are likely to hear a lot more soon from these two.
At issue in the June 9 verdict was whether MOSO manufactured its Bamboo X-treme product using a process that Dasso patented and uses in making its DassoXTR product. The jury ruled that was the case.
The dispute was aggravated by the fact that three executives of MOSO's North American division all previously worked for Easoon. Easoon alleged that its former head, Brett Kelly, and two others stole Easoon trade secrets and violated fiduciary duties before quitting to join MOSO (and take several Dasso customers with them). The jury ruled for Easoon on those claims, too.
The jury awarded $1.5 million in damages, though that amount might rise during U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly's review of the case. "[Along with the permanent injunction,] we will also seek a trebling of the damages award as well as an award of our attorney’s fees in this matter along with pre- and post-judgment interest," said Avery Chua, Easoon's CEO.
To reach its decision, the jury had to get familiar with what it takes to produce bamboo "scrimber"--the composite material produced when bamboo fiber is crushed. The patent being fought over describes a particular way to make the scrimber. Easoon maintained that MOSO was using Dasso's patented product. MOSO disagreed. The court sided with Easoon. Its request for a permanent injunction would order MOSO to stop "making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing Bamboo X-treme or its equivalent including any products not more than colorably different than Bamboo X-treme, in the United States and its territories until the expiration of the ... patent."
This could become a moot issue. Kelly told Webb Analytics during an Aug. 4 interview that MOSO is changing how it manufactures Bamboo X-treme. He said MOSO plans to introduce a "semi-rebranded product" in the fourth quarter that keeps the Bamboo X-treme name. MOSO's and Dasso's products both are made in China.
“Regardless of this case, we’re going in a different direction,” Kelly said.