What’s News May/June 2019

July 15th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Legal Updates

Landmark Cases Center on Antitrust and Intellectual Properties

The industry saw movement among some of its biggest legal cases in recent months, including two of historic proportions. In the nation’s first derivation hearing under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), judges ruled in favor of GED Integrated Solutions over Andersen Corp. Meanwhile, after a denial of motion to overturn an antitrust ruling against it, Jeld-Wen has delivered on its promise to appeal.

In another patent-related case, manufacturer Sierra Pacific grabbed attention in March, by issuing a late media statement reiterating the company’s legal battle with Kolbe and Kolbe Millwork Co. Inc.—a reminder for a case that hadn’t seen any reported filings since November 2018. Lastly, a legal battle dating back to 2016 between Milgard Manufacturing Inc. and a San Diego-based builder, Mathis, was declared a mistrial after ending in a hung jury. In an official court request, the company proposed a judgment as a matter of law.

Steves vs. Jeld-Wen

The latest moves between door manufacturers Jeld-Wen and Steves and Sons Inc. (Steves) took an expected turn recently, when Jeld-Wen walked forward its promise to appeal. The case, through which Jeld-Wen was found guilty of anti-trust violations, dates back to June 2016.

After an initial trial-by-jury ruling came down in Steves’ favor in October 2018, that ruling was later upheld. In addition to financial damages totaling approximately $176 M, a final judgment issued December 5, 2018, ordered Jeld-Wen to divest its Towanda, Pa.-based manufacturing plant to restore competition to the market for door skins. A subsequent request for a new trial (by Jeld-Wen) was officially denied on March 13, along with a motion for judgment. In an official filing, the court said it “remains of the view that Steves proved both antitrust injury and its damages.”

Jeld-Wen filed an official notice of appeal on April 12.

Andersen vs. GED

Through a derivation proceeding launched in March 2018, Andersen Corp. sought to overtake a patent from GED Integrated Solutions. The patent was issued to GED in August 2016, for a concept that Andersen officials alleged was first conceived by one of its employees.

In the middle of the debate were inventors from both companies, along with patents filed by GED for an insulating spacer frame. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board took exclusive jurisdiction over the matter in May 2017.

Following initial proceedings and responses, both companies put their arguments to the test in November before a panel of administrative patent judges. After concluding that Andersen has not shown that an inventor derived any of the inventions recited, judges found in favor of GED.

Acquisitions Report

Stephens Group Acquires Sound Seal Holdings

In March, officials for The Stephens Group announced that the company finalized its acquisition of Sound Seal Holdings Inc., an Agawam, Mass.-based manufacturer of acoustical noise control solutions, including doors and windows. The acquisition, says Joe Lupone, CEO for Sound Seal, enables organic and acquisitive growth.

Richelieu Acquires Three Hardware Distributors

In early April, Saint Laurent, Quebec-based Richelieu Hardware acquired Lion Industries, Blackstone Building Products, and Truform Building Products—three specialty hardware distributors serving door and window manufacturers throughout Western Canada and Ontario. In doing so, company officials said Richelieu seeks to reinforce its presence in the door and window market, while also increasing sales.

Vision Coatings Gains Talent Through Acquisition

In a late March move that company officials said “adds much needed talent,” Vision Coatings Limited, a provider of coating and finishing services for the fenestration industry, acquired Colour Vision Coating Inc. Amid labor shortages, president Tony Margiotta said the addition added paint experts
at a time when his company finds those skills increasingly difficult to land.

Meanwhile, Colour Vision was nearing the limits of its physical storage capacity and production space, Margiotta said, while Vision Coatings
recently added a new 50,000-square-foot facility. “I think the timing for this transition worked out perfectly for both companies,” says Bernice Martin, former president of Colour Vision Coating Inc., adding, “I’ve worked closely with the Vision Group of Companies in the past, so I knew our cultures would align well together.”

Martin will remain with Vision Coatings, helping to “fast-track” the new company’s growth, officials say.

Jeld-Wen Acquires VPI Quality Windows

In March, officials for Jeld-Wen Holding Inc. announced their company would acquire VPI Quality Windows Inc. The acquisition, officials for Jeld-Wen said, is expected to add approximately $60 million in annualized revenue. A vinyl window manufacturer, VPI specializes in customized solutions for mid-rise multi-family, institutional, hospitality and commercial projects. “VPI has earned a reputation as a preferred supplier of windows for the multi-family market with its customized solutions and relentless focus on quality, service and superior product performance,” Jeld-Wen officials said in a release.

The company announced completion of the acquisition April 1. Transaction terms were not disclosed.

Energy Related

Massachusetts Considering Performance Labels for Homes

If Massachusetts Senate Bill 1983 (S.1983) becomes law, anyone selling a residential dwelling soon may be required to provide a complete energy assessment of their home when offering it for sale. Among most single-family residential dwellings, multi-family dwellings with fewer than five units, and condominium units, the bill calls for “complete energy assessment and an associated residential energy performance label, as approved by the department of energy resources.”

As part of residential building envelopes, windows, the bill declares, are one aspect of the “information regarding annual energy consumption, energy costs for electricity and thermal needs” that legislation suggests need to be considered in ratings.

If passed, the adoption of energy assessment and residential energy performance labels would be completed by December 15, 2020.

Manufacturers

Energy Star Partner of the Year Awards

Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Starprogram issues Partner of the Year Awards, distinguishing the program’s best participants in the area of corporate energy management. This year, three door and window companies made the list—also being recognized for “Sustained Excellence,” after going above and beyond the criteria for two or more consecutive years.

At a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., officials for Andersen Corp., ProVia and Soft-Lite were on hand to receive their companies’ awards. The event marked the twelfth award for Provia and Soft-Lite’s sixth straight year of reaching the Sustained Excellence level. This was Andersen Corp.’s fifth time receiving a Sustained Excellence award since 1998 (when the program first began for windows) and the tenth time that the company has been recognized. That gives it the longest-running streak among door and window manufacturers.

Masonite Struck by Fire While Closing Facilities

In mid-March officials for Masonite confirmed with DWM magazine that the company would close three of its facilities, including those located in Denmark, S.C., Largo, Fla., and Tampa, Fla. In a company statement provided to DWM, officials reported that operations across all three facilities will now be served by other remaining locations.

In the last week of April, the company’s plant in Stockton, Calif., was struck by a fire that spread from a neighboring facility. There were no reported injuries to Masonite employees, but the facility was severely affected and is not expected to be restarted, officials said.

Overall, officials say Masonite’s goal includes reducing manufacturing sites by 10% by the second half of 2020.

Awards

In February: Edward G. Steves and Sam Bell Steves II, CEO and president, and chief operating officer of door manufacturer Steves and Sons Inc.,
respectively, were named among the 2019 class of Legacy Leaders by the San Antonio Business Journal.

Also in February: Officials for MI Windows and Doors announced that the company’s MI Profiles extrusion facility, in Millersburg, Pa., was nominated for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program Star (VPP Star). If awarded, the recognition would mark a hat trick for the company in the area of safety, following its Gratz, Pa., and Prescott Valley, Ariz., plants, which received the award in 2017.

In March: The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) and Energage, a Pennsylvania-based employee research firm, completed their sixth-annual Top Workplaces study. Thompson Creek Window Company was among those making this year’s list.

Also in March: The Healthy Business Council of Ohio awarded door and window manufacturer ProVia with a Silver Award for healthy worksite practices. The recognition goes to Ohio employers who demonstrate a commitment to employee wellness through comprehensive worksite health promotion and wellness programs.

In April: All Weather Windows was named a Platinum Club member of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, as determined by Deloitte, CIBC, Canadian Business, Smith’s School of Business and TMX Group. This was the fifth year in a row the company was awarded.

Expansions

Erdman Automation Corp.

Erdman Automation Corp., a machinery manufacturer in Princeton, Minn., has broken ground for a new 45,950-square-foot facility. Located next to the
company’s second production site in Princeton, the facility brings the company’s manufacturing space to more than 160,000 square feet.

The new space will be dedicated to manufacturing Erdman’s high-speed insulating glass equipment, officials say, as well as its robotic insulating glass work cells for larger sized insulating glass.

Vytex Windows

Officials for Vytex Windows recently announced a 60,000-square-foot addition to its manufacturing space in Laurel, Md. The expansion brings the
company’s overall footprint to 220,000 square feet.

Vytex manufactures its vinyl windows and patio doors from its Laurel-based facility, then ships to distribution centers in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pa., and Indianapolis. Officials say the company has also added new equipment, ranging from welders, corner cleaners, fabrication centers and glass washers to glass cutting tables, while transitioning to a new software system for manufacturing.

Chelsea Building Products

In April, Chelsea Building Products celebrated the opening of its second manufacturing and distribution facility. Strategically located in Greenville,
Texas, the 126,000-square-foot operation serves the company’s customers across Southern and Western U.S. regions, officials say. After establishing
full functionality in February 2019, a grand opening event was held April 9, followed by plant tours.

The newly-revamped location previously served as an extrusion operation— including infrastructure for 15 lines, company officials report, and additional
room for expansion.

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