German Court suspends case

Välinge versus PXP® : German Court suspends case as it questions validity of Välinge’s utility model

In January 2013, namely during the Domotex 2013 trade fair in Hannover (Germany), Välinge Innovation AB (“Välinge”) had a writ of complaint served upon Spanolux N.V. division Balterio (“Balterio”), claiming that Balterio’s new locking system PXP® (PressXpress) allegedly infringed Välinge’s German utility model DE 20 2012 007 012 U1 (“DE ’012”).

DE ’012 is a utility model, i.e. a protective right which was registered by the German Patent and Trademark Office (“GPTO”) without a substantive examination of its validity regarding novelty and inventive step. It was filed only on July 19, 2012, claiming earlier priority of the Swedish application SE P 11 50 713.4 of July 19, 2011. Välinge’s DE ’012 was filed a long time after the public launch of the PXP® System on Domotex 2011 and also after Balterio had filed its corresponding patent application WO 2011/127981 A1 on April 15, 2010.

In the course of the infringement proceedings, Välinge has modified the claims of DE ’012 and filed several auxiliary requests so as to counter the non-infringement and invalidity arguments of Balterio.

On this December 10, 2013, the Mannheim Regional Court has decided to suspend the infringement proceedings until a final decision has been taken in the cancellation proceedings started by Balterio against DE ‘012 with the GPTO (docket no. 20 2012 007 012.6) . By doing so, the Mannheim Regional Court has also refused to grant to Välinge a cease-and-desist decision against Balterio’s PXP® system so that Balterio continues to be free to market its PXP® system and laminate panels with this system.

“Right from the beginning, we have been convinced that DE ’012 had been filed and tailored for the sole purpose of attacking our PXP® System and was not based on any proprietary technology or invention of Välinge” says Peter Le Roy, Managing Director of the Trinterio Group and former division director of the laminate division of Balterio. “Since its foundation in 2001, Balterio has always taken intellectual property issues very seriously. The decision handed down today by the Mannheim Regional Court confirms our view that we will also prevail in the present proceedings against Välinge.”

Balterio’s Research and Development Director Bruno Vermeulen explains the background of Balterio’s innovative PXP® locking system: “Already in 2008 we started developing a new locking mechanism which led to the PXP® system. PXP® is a completely new and innovative fold-down system for flooring panels that is out of the scope of existing third party patents. Years of research and development combined with the daily experiences and wishes of customers resulted in PXP®, which we have successfully integrated into our product ranges Grandeur, Infinity and Xperienceplus. On April 15, 2010, we applied for our own patent application WO 2011/127981 A1 covering the PXP® System, so more than 14 months before Välinge filed its application for DE ’012. Thus, there can be no doubt that Balterio is the sole owner of the PXP® technology.”

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