Haworth Receives Damages in Patent Fight
Haworth Inc. said it received a $211.5-million payment for a patent infringement award against Steelcase Inc., ending a 17-year battle between the two office furniture giants over pre-wired office panels. Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Steelcase, the world’s largest office furniture maker, reportedly paid Holland, Mich.-based Haworth $96.8 million in damages and $114.7 million in interest. The two privately held companies began warring over the issue in 1979. Haworth sued Steelcase in November 1985, alleging that Steelcase infringed its patents for pre-wired modular panel systems, which are used to build office cubicles. The technology, developed during the early 1970s, provides a safe way to route electricity through office panels.