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Charlotte, N.C.-based Huber Engineered Woods, maker of the popular ZIP System sheathing and tape products, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Georgia-Pacific Wood Products, alleging that the Atlanta-based company’s recently introduced ForceField Air and Water Barrier System infringes on patents for ZIP.

“Our brands have won multiple national awards and received numerous accolades and recognition in the industry, and we will vigorously defend our patents against infringement,” Huber president Brian Carlson said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

Georgia-Pacific, for its part, says there is no infringement.

“Georgia-Pacific Wood Products is aware of the lawsuit filed by Huber Engineered Woods related to GP's recently launched ForceField Air and Water Barrier System,” the company said in a statement to PRODUCTS magazine. “As a company that respects intellectual property, GP remains confident that ForceField does not violate the IP rights of others, including those of Huber. GP disagrees with Huber's allegations and intends to vigorously defend itself in this matter.”

Launched in 2006, ZIP System sheathing (and tape) hit upon a radical idea in the home building industry: Why use a two-step method for sheathing and wrapping a home when you can do it more effectively and quickly in one step?

The exterior wall (and roof) system consists of an enhanced, moisture-resistant, engineered wood panel with a built-in, water-resistive, vapor-permeable barrier that eliminates the need for housewrap or felt. “Completed with taped panel seams using high-performance ZIP System flashing tape, the system helps protect construction timelines by creating quick dry-in status and reducing risk of rework, while providing advanced moisture protection and reduced air leakage,” the company says.

At this year's International Builders' Show, GP introduced ForceField air and water barrier system, which consists of engineered wood sheathing panels laminated with what the company calls “a proprietary air and water barrier.”

“Early builder feedback was positive, and this sentiment was reinforced many times over at IBS,” John Beers, sales director for engineered wood at Georgia-Pacific, said at the time of the launch. “From builders to contractors and architects, our booth stayed packed with interested attendees during the show. Everyone wanted to see ForceField and learn more about it. We look forward to sharing it with even more customers in the months to come.”

ForceField works much like ZIP Sheathing: The wall sheathing is installed on the wall studs, and the panel joints are taped with ForceField seam tape to prevent air infiltration and leaks.

Both products eliminate the need for housewrap, both claim to prevent air leaks and to save time in labor, and both products can be used for residential or light commercial buildings.