Southern Mills, Inc. (“Southern Mills”), a Georgia corporation doing business as TenCate Protective Fabrics, filed a patent infringement action on July 15, 2015 against International Textiles Group, Inc. f/k/a Safety Components International, Inc. (“Int’l Textiles”), a Delaware corporation, relating to U.S. Patent No. 8,898,821 (the ‘821 Patent) directed to a flame resistant directionally-dependent fabric.  

Southern Mills accuses an Int’l Textiles product marketed under the Glide™ trade name of infringing the ‘821 Patent.  The complaint explains that the face of the Glide™ product is made of a flame resistant fabric, with the fibers of the fabric comprising, on the one hand, para-aramid[i] Kevlar® filament fibers (the “Kevlar® Fiber”), and, on the other hand, meta-aramid[ii] Nomex® fibers and flame resistant viscose/rayon FR® staple fibers spun together (40% of the total Glide™ product) (the “Blend Flame Resistant Fiber”).  

The complaint alleges that warp and fill weaving techniques are used to present the Kevlar® Fiber toward the wearer and the Blend Flame Resistant Fiber away from the wearer (toward any external source of heat or flame) infringing claims of the ‘821 Patent.  An image depicting the Glide™ product was included in the complaint and is reproduced below:

Click here to view image.

The complaint alleges repeated communications with Int’l Textiles before and after the ‘821 Patent issued.

In addition to direct infringement, the complaint alleges indirect infringement by inducement, alleging that Int'l Textiles touts the infringing uses and provides instructions on how to use the product in an infringing manner.  Further, Southern Mills claims that Int'l Textiles contributes to direct infringement by end users and garment manufacturers, pointing specifically to marketing materials. 

The complaint alleges that Int’l Textiles' actions are willful and seeks a finding of infringement, an injunction, damages, including enhanced damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284, attorney’s fees and expenses under 35 U.S.C. § 285, and prejudgment interest and costs.

The case is Southern Mills, Inc. v. International Textiles Group, Inc. (f/k/a) Safety Components International, Inc., LLC, No. 1:15-cv-02588-WSD, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, on July 15, 2015, and assigned to U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr.