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Viskase awarded $165 million over infringement

Viskase Companies, Inc. (Bedford Park, IL) was awarded a final judgment of $164.9 million in compensatory and enhanced damages and prejudgment interest in its patent infringement suit against American National Can Co.

(Chicago, IL), a unit of Pechiney (Paris, France). The suit was over Viskase patents covering shrink-film bags for meat and poultry packaging. The amount was announced by the U.S. District Court for the Northern Illinois District. The Court increased the judgment by $62.5 million over the amount awarded at the conclusion of a jury trial in 1996. The increased award was made for supplemental and enhanced damages, prejudgment interest and court costs. According to the Chicago Tribune, the total judgment is more than double Viskase's stock market value. American National says it intends to appeal the judgment, and it says its current products are not covered by Viskase patents. In addition, American National has challenged the validity of Viskase patents in a suit before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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