The Restoration Industry Association (RIA) and ThermaPure, Inc. have successfully settled a patent lawsuit that RIA began in January 2013. The agreement, in part, calls for ThermaPure to provide a covenant not to sue RIA members unless the member heats a structure to an ambient temperature in excess of 105°F while practicing the other limitations of claims of ThermaPure's U. S. Patent 6,327,812 ('812 patent). RIA, in turn, acknowledges the validity of the '812 patent and will encourage the adoption of the ThermaPure technology to its members when using temperatures in excess of 105°F.
The litigation settlement is a win/win for RIA and ThermaPure, ending a long standing dispute between the parties wherein ThermaPure sought to protect its patents while the RIA sought certainty as to the scope of ThermaPure's infringement charges. After a decade of challenges, the validity of the '812 patent has been stipulated to by RIA and two RIA member firms. Restoration firms can embrace the ThermaPure® technology not only for its environmental benefits but also to expand their business opportunities. Now RIA members will not have to fear these patent infringement lawsuits, as long as the ambient air temperature inside a structure is not heated above 105°F during water damage recovery and other restoration services. The veil of legal uncertainty is lifted from the membership who can return their focus to running their companies.
This '105°F safe-harbor' clause is exclusively for RIA members. Current members, in good standing, receive immediate and automatic benefit from the terms of the settlement. Non-member restoration contractors receive benefits effective the date they join the association.
ThermaPure has broad patent protection, with numerous patents, and RIA members are encouraged to review ThermaPure's patents on its website at: www.thermapureheat.com to clarify many common misconceptions of what is included in this patent.
"Many RIA members gave countless hours and thousands of dollars to support the Restoration Industry Legal Fund (RILF), and resolution of the lawsuit solves the problems RIA set out to fix," said RIA President and President of Regency DKI, Scott Stamper, CR. "This was not an easy decision, and many hours went into the negotiations. Without the open-minded win/win approach embraced by everyone involved on both sides, the deal would never have gotten done. As a restoration company executive, I will sleep better knowing RIA has put this patent issue to bed. This settlement removes the fear exclusively for our members and allows RIA to develop best practices for our membership, adding a new layer of professionalism in our ever-evolving field."
David Hedman, CEO of ThermaPure stated, "ThermaPure is enthusiastic about this new relationship with RIA and its members. It is clear the restoration industry is moving toward high temperature processes. This agreement provides an opportunity for RIA members to license the ThermaPure technology to dry rapidly and sanitize structures, simultaneously. Our desire is to help RIA restoration companies broaden their scope of work and grow their businesses to new levels of success."
RIA is in the process of developing a dedicated page on its website with details, including the full agreement, pertaining to the settlement. Additionally, RIA President, Scott Stamper, CR, has appointed a committee to formulate an RIA best practices document with recommendations for our member companies to successfully operate within the settlement agreement terms.