Checkpoint wins Swiss lawsuit

Friday, February 1, 2002

THOROFARE, N.J.-Checkpoint Systems said in January it had won a patent infringement lawsuit against retail anti-theft tag makers All-Tag Security AG, a unit of Belgium-based All-Tag Security S.A. and Sensormatic and its European division, Sensormatic AG.

In a lawsuit filed in 1998 in Switzerland, the court ruled that both Sensormatic and All-Tag had violated the company's patent in that country for a disposable radio frequency security tag. Both companies have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Swiss Supreme Court, according to Neil Austin, vice president, general counsel and secretary for Checkpoint.

Company officials at Sensormatic or its parent company, Tyco International, did not return calls by press time.

The Swiss lawsuit is the basis of a second action against All-Tag and Sensormatic that was filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia in May. That case is expected to last another year to 15 months, Austin said.

"We are certainly pleased with the Swiss ruling and believe that it is a precursor of things to come in the United States action," Austin said.

Austin said he expected that both All-Tag and Sensormatic would appeal the court's decision, a process that would take about six months. If the companies lose that appeal, the court would force them to turn over financial data related to Swiss sales of the disposable tag to assess what damages should be awarded to Checkpoint, he said.

Checkpoint has also filed similar lawsuits against the two companies in Argentina and Australia involving a different patent.