March 22, 2012

Jenner & Block won a significant appellate victory for its client Viskase Companies, Inc., on March 13, 2012, when the Federal Circuit affirmed, in all respects, a Northern District of Illinois decision in favor of Viskase in a patent infringement case involving a food casing product that is a key product line for the company.  

Viskase is an Illinois-based company that is a global leader in the supply of cellulose, fibrous and plastic foodstuff casings to commercial meat manufacturers and other food processors.  In the mid-2000s, Viskase developed and launched Viscoat, a multi-layer casing product, as the latest offering in a long line of innovative food casing products.  Viscoat gained acceptance by customers, including major meat processors, because of its ability to transfer color and flavor to foodstuffs and its easy peeling qualities.  In 2009, World Pac, a competitor, directly contacted Viskase’s customers and potential customers suggesting that Viscoat infringed a World Pac food casing patent.  In August 2009, Viskase sought a declaratory judgment that it did not infringe the World Pac patent and that World Pac’s patent was invalid.  World Pac counterclaimed, asserting that Viscoat infringed several claims of World Pac’s patent.  

In December 2010, Viskase moved for summary judgment of invalidity, asserting that World Pac’s patent was anticipated by a prior Japanese patent application and in February 2011, Judge Elaine Bucklo agreed, granting summary judgment to Viskase.

After hearing oral argument on March 6, 2012, the Federal Circuit affirmed and upheld Judge Bucklo’s ruling.

Partner Bradford P. Lyerla was first chair in the District Court proceedings and argued the appeal at the Federal Circuit.  Additional members of the Firm’s team included Partners Jeffrey A. Koppy and Alexander Rozenblat, Associates Yusuf Esat and Peter Hanna, and Senior Paralegal David A. Nelson.