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Zircon detects infringement, Stanley doesn’t

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Zircon Corporation announced it has filed suit against Stanley Works for patent infringement on Zircon’s stud sensor technology.

Campbell, Calif.-based Zircon filed suit on Jan. 7 in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose, seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions and damages from Stanley Works, a New Britain, Conn.-based hand tools company.

The complaint is related to U.S. Patent No. 7,116,091, which covers Zircon’s CenterVision technology that detects both the edges and the center of a stud with one pass. Before the introduction of this technology, stud finders located only the stud’s edges, leaving users to determine the center point.

“Zircon has always taken great care to respect the proprietary rights of others and expects its competitors to do the same,” said Zircon president John Stauss. “We have also vigorously defended our intellectual property in the field of stud finders for over 25 years.”   

When contacted by HCN, Stanley Works issued this statement from Ted Morris, the company’s assistant general counsel: “The patent that Zircon claims Stanley is infringing was specifically analyzed prior to manufacturing and marketing these stud sensor models, and a design was arrived at that did not infringe. Stanley informed Zircon of this pre-launch analysis on October 2008, but received no response from Zircon. Our attorneys are reviewing the allegations in the lawsuit, but at the present time, based on everything we currently know, the lawsuit appears to be without merit.”

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KB Home reports steep revenue drop for Q4 and full year

BY HBSDEALER Staff

KB Home, one of America’s largest home builders, reported total revenues for the fourth quarter ended Nov. 30, 2008, of $919 million, down from $2.07 billion for the year-ago quarter. The company also reported a net loss of $307.3 million for the quarter, compared to a net loss of $772.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2007.

Fourth-quarter housing revenues totaled $908.5 million on 3,912 homes delivered, compared to $2.02 billion on 8,132 homes delivered in the fourth quarter of 2007.

For the year ended Nov. 30, 2008, the company generated total revenues of $3.03 billion, compared to $6.42 billion for fiscal year 2007. Housing revenues in fiscal 2008 totaled $2.94 billion, down from $6.21 billion in the previous year.

“With unprecedented downward pressures continuing to confront the home-building industry and the overall economy, our operating strategy and key priorities at KB Home have not changed,” said Jeffrey Mezger, president and CEO of the Los Angeles-based company. “We continue to pursue an aggressive agenda to maintain a strong financial position, restore the profitability of our home-building operations and position our business for an eventual housing market recovery.”

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Ainsworth names president and CEO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Vancouver, B.C.-based forest products company Ainsworth Lumber has announced that its board of directors has appointed Richard Huff as the new president and CEO.

“We are very pleased to have Rick Huff joining Ainsworth Lumber Co.,” said Jay Gurandiano, chairman of the board of directors. “We look forward to the benefit of his extensive experience in senior management positions in the energy and forest industries, including most recently as CEO of the Sinclar Group, a privately owned diversified forest products group with mills in the British Columbia interior and before that as the head of OSB operations for Tolko.”

Huff will join the company on Jan. 19 at its head office in Vancouver, B.C. Robert Allen will step down as interim-CEO and resume responsibilities as chief financial officer.

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