Marietta zipper company sues Velcro

A Marietta-based company is suing Velcro, the well-known fastener for clothing and other items, accusing it of violating its patent for a fastener used by the auto industry.

YKK Corp., a major producer of zippers whose parent company is based in Japan, claims in a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Atlanta that Velcro has copied and sold a fastener strip used to secure car seats and other foam molded products.

Efforts were being made Tuesday to reach YKK and Manchester, NH-based Velcro for comment.

YKK said it was issued a patent for the “Quickfit” fastener strip in April 2004. The company said Velcro is “making, using, offering for sale” and importing its copy of the fastener under the “4GI” fastener strip brand.

YKK said it is seeking “enhanced damages for willful infringement” but it did not provide a dollar figure in the lawsuit.

In addition to making and supplying zippers to major clothing manufactures, YKK makes hooks and loops for the automotive, aircraft and medical industries, and plastic parts for luggage and sporting goods, including buckles, cord stoppers, adjusters and rings.

In 2002, YKK persuaded a federal court to rule in its favor against YPP Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Korean manufacturer Jungwoo Zipper Co. Ltd., ending the companies’ battle over “k’s” and “p’s” in their name. The court ruled Jungwoo Zipper was using a copycat name for its subsidiary and that YKK’s trademark was “beyond question and should be afforded the widest [amount] of protection from infringing uses.”

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