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You are here:News»Classen Group wins another patent infringement case invalidating the sub-licensing rights by Unilin subsidiary
Monday, 05 August 2019 15:24

Classen Group wins another patent infringement case invalidating the sub-licensing rights by Unilin subsidiary

Akzenta Paneele + Profile GmbH wins appeal before OLG Düsseldorf against importer of design flooring products

On July 8, 2019, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf), in its capacity as a Court of Appeal (VI_U 18/18), ruled mostly in favour of Akzenta Paneele + Profile GmbH, a subsidiary of the Classen Group, Kaisersesch. The court ruled that certain design floor products imported and marketed by Project Floors GmbH with the so called "Unifit" locking system infringe the German part of Classen’s EP 1 415 056 (so called Megaloc patent). The court rejected an objection that these products, sourced from a Chinese manufacturer, are covered by a license from Pergo for Classen’s patent EP’ 056.

The licensors of the Chinese manufacturer, Flooring Industries Ltd. sarl. and Pergo AB, both subsidiaries of the Unilin/Mohawk group, managed the appeal procedure on behalf of Project Floors falsely claiming that Pergo was allowed to sub-license certain Classen patents.

However, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court ruled that a 2009 First Amendment Agreement between Classen and Pergo was void, meaning that Pergo was not entitled to grant a sub-license covering Classen patents (including the Megaloc patent EP’056) to the Chinese supplier of Project Floors.

Arne Loebel, Managing Director of the Classen Group, comments on the legal success,

"This verdict confirms Classen's long-standing view that Pergo is not authorized to enter into sub-licensing agreements for Classen patents on any type of plastic-based products. Furthermore, Unilin/Flooring Industries are also not entitled to grant sub-licensing rights for these products , which was not at issue in this proceeding. We are very pleased that the court has ruled in our favour. Manufacturers of these products must now urgently verify whether the Classen patents are actually included in a valid license agreement."

The Court did not permit a further appeal against its ruling, however, an appeal against non-admission to the Federal Supreme Court is, in principal, possible.