HERMAN MILLER, INC. RESPONDS TO LAWSUIT
HERMAN MILLER, INC. RESPONDS TO LAWSUIT ZEELAND, Mich., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Herman Miller, Inc.
(NASDAQ-NMS: MLHR) has received the suit filed against it by Haworth for alleged infringements on certain patents relating to electrical distribution systems attached to office panel furniture systems. The suit was served on a Herman Miller dealer in Atlanta.
According to John Berry, director of Corporate Communications for Herman Miller, "While we do not comment on the litigation itself, it might by helpful to understand the historical relationship between Herman Miller and Haworth. Herman Miller created and introduced the concept of open office systems with the Action Office system in 1968. Haworth, then called Modern Partitions, was a vendor to Herman Miller supplying materials for our panels. "Haworth incorporated and became a competitor in the early '70s when it saw the success of the Action Office system by introducing the first copy of Action Office called Modern Office Modules. Herman Miller has had electrical distribution with our Action Office(R) panels since the 1970s and has continued to evolve our product to accommodate changing needs in the workplace. This suit relates to a previous generation of electrical distribution purchased from a third party." "Haworth has filed this matter in Georgia rather than in West Michigan where both companies are headquartered," said Jim Christenson, vice president and general counsel, "complicating easy access to information and the appropriate individuals for testimony. Their pre-condition to any discussion was a request to receive all documentation relating to the development and sales of our products. In addition to being unreasonable and expensive, this request had the potential to be competitively damaging. We have not negotiated with Haworth as we see no liability. We previously have received written advices from our outside patent counsel that such counsel does not believe our products infringe on Haworth's patents. Herman Miller will defend its position vigorously." Dick Ruch, CEO and president of Herman Miller, said, "During a recessionary time in our industry, it is unfortunate to spend resources in this way. Herman Miller prefers to continue its focus on serving the needs of its customers and competing for business in the marketplace, not in the courts." Herman Miller, Inc. is an international firm, recognized as the originators of open office systems and ergonomic seating and is engaged primarily in the manufacturing and sale of furniture systems, products and related services primarily for offices and, to a lesser extent, for health care facilities and other uses. The company is based in Zeeland, Mich. -0- 1/13/92 /CONTACT: John Berry of Herman Miller, Inc., 616-772-8222/ (MLHR) CO: Herman Miller, Inc.; Haworth ST: Michigan IN: SU:
SM -- DE014 -- 9220 01/13/92 16:33 EST
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|Date:||Jan 13, 1992|
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