In what is believed to be a precedent-setting opinion, the U.S. Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Ultimax Cement's rapid-hardening cement patents and ruled against accused patent infringers CTS Cement Manufacturing and its owner, Edward K. Rice. The decision overturns certain rulings from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Santa Ana), which appeared to have closed the case in January 2008 by invalidating remaining patent infringement claims.
Garden Grove, Calif.-based Ultimax and its CEO Hassan Kunbargi can proceed with certain claims against CTS and other defendants, including packaged-mix heavyweight Quikrete Cos., for infringement. In 2002, Ultimax sued CTS, Rice and their customers in federal district court for patent infringement for the previous 12 years. The plaintiff contended CTS's flagship product, Rapid-Set Cement, infringed Ultimax's rapid-hardening, high-strength cement patents. In 2005, the district court sided with CTS and held that Ultimax's patents were invalid or not infringed; Ultimax appealed. In a December 2009 Appellate Court decision, other portions of the district court's rulings were affirmed in part, dismissed in part, vacated in part, reversed in part, and remanded.