Hillenbrand wins ban of knockoff coffins from Mexico

December 14, 2010

Batesville-based Hillenbrand Inc., the largest U.S. maker of coffins, won an order to ban imports of knockoff caskets from Mexico.

The U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington said Monday that Ataudes Aguilares will be barred from bringing in caskets with attached memorabilia compartments and mechanisms for letting funeral-home directors swap out ornamental corner pieces. The Mexican company failed to respond to patent-infringement claims from Hillenbrand’s Batesville unit, the ITC said in a notice on its website.

Batesville filed the complaint in June, seeking to protect sales of its coffins with memorabilia compartments that it expected to exceed $130 million this year. The company said it builds the caskets at four plants in Panola, Miss.; Manchester, Tenn.; Vicksburg, Miss.; and its hometown of Batesville. All told, the facilities employ about 3,300 workers.

The memorabilia compartment is a drawer in which family members put mementos rather than in a box placed haphazardly in the coffin, Batesville said in its complaint.



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