PPC Names Three Vendors in Patent Suit

John Mezzalingua Associates Inc., doing business as PPC, served three prominent cable-equipment vendors with lawsuits early this month, claiming they infringed on specific patent designs related to PPC's EX series of universal compression connectors.

PPC — a privately-held Syracuse, N.Y. outfit that makes and sells connectors, traps, filters and fiber-optics products — filed separate claims in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Antec Corp., Gilbert Engineering Co. (owned by Corning Inc.) and Thomas & Betts Corp., charging that each vendor infringed on different patent designs.

For starters, PPC alleged in the complaint that Antec's Digicon connector violates PPC's 076 patent for a compression-type coaxial cable-connector design.

Antec spokesman Jim Bauer declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit, but said, "We don't think we're in violation of any patents, and we'll vigorously defend our rights to do what we're doing with our technologies."

According to the complaint, PPC also claimed that Gilbert's Ultraseal connector infringes on PPC's 076 patent for a compression-type coaxial cable connector. PPC also charged that Thomas & Betts' Snap-N-Seal One-Piece Drop Connector violates design patent 257 for a compression-type coaxial cable connector.

Officials with Gilbert and Thomas & Betts did not return calls seeking comment by press time.

PPC introduced the EX series in mid-1997. Each piece in the line features a universal, one-piece feature designed to eliminate the need to stock multiple types of connectors.

Spokesman Arthur Rath said PPC will pursue cease-and-desist measures against the three plaintiffs and seek monetary damages. Rath declined to specify how much cash PPC is seeking in the courts.

The lawsuits said PPC is seeking to collect on attorneys' fees, pre-judgement interest, and post-judgement interest.