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Green Building News

Huber Settles Infringement Lawsuit Over Zip System Sheathing

Louisiana-based competitor ends sale of similar OSB sheathing

A Louisiana-based wood products company has agreed to stop selling a product that competes with Huber Engineered Woods' Zip System sheathing, ending a patent infringement lawsuit. The green Zip wall sheathing is widely used as an all-in-one replacement for structural sheathing and a water-resistive barrier. Photo courtesy of Huber Engineered Woods

Huber Engineered Woods says it has settled a patent infringement lawsuit with a competitor, ending sales of an integrated weather-resistant sheathing panel similar to Huber’s popular Zip System product.

In a press release, Huber said the agreement, which was filed in a federal district court in Texas, brings to a close the suit it brought late last year against RoyOMartin, a Louisiana-based wood products manufacturer. As part of the settlement, RoyOMartin agreed to stop selling Eclipse Weather Resistant Barrier products, Huber said.

Leigh Ann Purvis, corporate communications manager for RoyOMartin, confirmed in a telephone call that the two sides had reached a negotiated settlement but declined further comment.

Huber makes Zip System sheathing in versions for roof and sidewall applications, including one that is bonded to a layer of rigid-foam insulation. The coated OSB sheathing and the companion tape that seals seams between panels combines a water-resistive barrier and structural sheathing in one product. The green (wall) and orange (roof) panels have become a common site on construction sites.

RoyOMartin is a wood-products company based in Alexandria, Louisiana, that was founded in 1923. According to its website, the company is one of several wholly owned subsidiaries of an investment company privately held by members of the Martin family.

RoyOMartin sells a variety of products, including OSB radiant barrier sheathing for wind-prone areas, floor underlayment, industrial-grade plywood, and pine plywood siding.

It’s not clear when the company began selling Eclipse Weather Resistant Barrier, or where it has been distributed. It was described online as a “superior house wrap tape-and-panel solution, integrating a new weather-resistant barrier with the energy efficiency of a reflective insulation and a structural panel.”

Eclipse is no longer listed in the company’s online product directory.

In a prepared statement, Huber President Brian Carlson said, “We are pleased to resolve the issue with RoyOMartin, and we will continue to defend and protect our brands and intellectual property portfolio as evidenced by our previously announced patent infringement lawsuit against Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.”

That lawsuit, filed earlier this year, alleges that LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier products infringe on at least eight of Huber’s Zip System patents for sheathing and tape. Louisiana-Pacific’s website says the panels are bonded to a water-resistive overlay, “eliminating the need for a secondary wrap.” It comes with acrylic tape.

The case was filed in a federal district court in Delaware and is still pending.

11 Comments

  1. Russell Miller | | #1

    I mention this a few months ago. HUBER has won EVERY TIME!!! you would think these companies would quit.

    This will keep zip prices climbing as well. Which is another story.

    1. John Clark | | #2

      Sounds like the patent office didn't do it's due diligence and offerred an overly broad patent. The RoyOMartin product looked like stud side insulation+OSB + reflective coating w/reflective tape used on the seams. ZIP is nothing like it.

      1. Jaccen | | #3

        Agreed. I cannot claim familiarity with the RoyOMartin product, but from the pictures it does look different than Zip.

        1. John Clark | | #4

          https://royomartin.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/InstallationManual_EclipseWRB_Web.pdf

          Ya. These certs caught my eye.
          ASTM Test Method C 1371 Thermal Emittance: 0.05
          ASTM Test Method E 96-05 Vapor Transmission: < 1 perm.

  2. Matt F | | #5

    For anyone interested in intellectual property, Huber's zip patent claims are about as good as they get.

    1. A panelized sheathing system for external walls of a building structure, the system comprising:
    at least two adjacent structural wall panels, each panel including an outer surface, an inner surface, and at least one edge extending therebetween, each panel aligned with its at least one edge proximate to the at least one edge of the adjacent panel and defining a joint between the two adjacent panels;
    a barrier layer secured to the outer surface of each panel, the barrier layer being bulk water resistant and water vapor permeable; and
    a bulk water resistant sealant sealing the joint between the proximate edges of the two adjacent panels.

    Just look at the claims, the rest of a patent pretty much doesn't matter.
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US8474197B2/en
    https://patents.google.com/patent/US9546479B2/en

    Under claims like these, it is going to be challenging for anyone to work around producing a sheathing panel with integrated WRB. Your only hope would be to come up with some way to invalidate the patents, which is generally very hard and no one has come up with yet clearly. You would need evidence of a publicly known equivalent existing before Feb 2004.

    Anyone publish anything about applying some sort of waterproof barrier to sheathing pieces and then sealing the seams between them prior to 2004?

    Huber's monopoly looks like it should end in January 2025.

    1. User avater
      Jon R | | #7

      I believe that DensGlass is often used as sheathing with integrated weather barrier. But it's not wood based.

  3. Russell Miller | | #6

    They actually made a deal with one major mfg to keep selling their products using HUBER technology.

    National gypsum has an osb product in the pipeline VERY similar to zip.

  4. Lance Peters | | #8

    What about Georgia-Pacific Forcefield? Is this licensed through Huber?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2xVUQycWBQ

    1. Kohta Ueno | | #9

      Georgia-Pacific was sued by Huber and settled a while back.

      ATLANTA, March 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC (GP) today announced that it has signed a patent license agreement with Huber Engineered Woods LLC (HEW) to settle litigation related to GP's ForceField® System products. HEW, the maker of ZIP System® branded products, has a portfolio of patents and related pending applications for a structural roof and wall system incorporating water resistant and air barrier technologies that streamline the weatherization process.

      The confidential settlement terms grant to GP a license to offer its ForceField® System products with the payment of an undisclosed upfront amount and ongoing royalties.

      https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/georgia-pacific-wood-products-enters-license-and-settlement-agreement-with-huber-engineered-woods-to-resolve-forcefield-system-litigation-300417217.html

      1. Lance Peters | | #11

        Thanks, I figured something like that must have taken place.

  5. Kohta Ueno | | #10

    The coated OSB sheathing and the companion tape that seals seams between panels combines a water-resistive barrier and structural sheathing in one product. The green (wall) and orange (roof) panels have become a common site on construction sites.

    FYI--that was Huber's old color coding system. Nowadays, green = 7/16", and brown = 5/8":

    Panels are also conveniently color-coded, with the 7/16" panel colored green and the thicker 1/2" and 5/8" boards colored sienna – making it easy to spot the right panel for the job.

    http://www.huberwood.com/zipsystem/products/zip-system-wall

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