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Frito-Lay and Innovia Films settle film patent dispute out of court

By Kacey Culliney , 28-Sep-2012
Last updated on 28-Sep-2012 at 16:01 GMT

Patent dispute finally concluded out of court
Patent dispute finally concluded out of court

Frito-Lay and Innovia Films have reached an out of court settlement over patent rights for a biodegradable film used in packaging for crisps and snack bags.

Frito-Lay now holds the global patent rights for bio-based multi-layer films and Innovia has a license to sell their NatureFlex products into multi-layer applications across the globe.

The settlement comes in the wake of lengthy legal disputes in US and UK courts.

Chris Wyse, communications for Frito-Lay and PepsiCo Americas Foods, told BakeryandSnacks.com: “It is an out of court settlement. It involves global patents that were previously filed.”

He added that Frito-Lay plans no further comment at this time.

David Beeby, CEO of Innovia Films, said his firm is pleased with the “open and constructive manner” of the resolve.

This means Innovia is now able to “accelerate our product development and supply of NatureFlex renewable and compostable films for bio-based multi-layer applications”, Beeby said.

Lengthy legal lock

The US snacks business and UK-based film supplier became locked in the legal battle in November 2011.

Innovia lodged action in the UK to halt Frito-Lay’s European patent applications and the US snacks firm filed a US civil lawsuit against the film supplier.

The past year has seen legal proceedings in the US District Court for Eastern District of Texas and the UK Patents Courts of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales.

Confidentiality pact turned sour

The dispute commenced after Innovia accused Frito-Lay of breaking a confidentiality pact made back in 2005. Both parties entered into an agreement to work together on the development of the films and signed a confidentiality agreement.

However, when Frito-Lay developed its own biodegradable films and filed for US patents in May 2009 and 2011, Innovia accused it of violating this pact.

The US snacks giant disputed this and said the agreement did not define a formal or informal business arrangement. It added that it had commenced its own research into biodegradable films in 2004 – a year before it held meeting with Innovia.

Over the full course of this patent dispute, Frito-Lay denied all allegations made by Innovia.

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