On December 18, 2018 the German Federal Court of Justice decided on the validity of a patent relating to a product design of egg packages with a particular combination of major planar surfaces, egg-shaped areas and supporting ribs. The Federal Court of Justice ruled that the German part of the European patent EP 1 373 100 B1 is valid if its claim 1 is combined with the granted claims 29 and 30, which relate to a specific pattern of supporting ribs. The owner of this patent is the Danish company Brødrene Hartmann, which is a leader in moulded fibre packaging solutions for eggs and fruit. The patent corresponds to Hartmann’s imagic® egg packages.
With its decision, the Federal Court of Justice reversed a first instance decision of the Federal Patent Court dated January 31, 2017. The decision is final and non-appealable. The claimant of first instance, and defendant in the appeal proceedings, was the company Omni-Pac Ekco GmbH Verpackungsmittel.
Brødrene Hartmann was represented by lawyers of the German law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, in collaboration with patent attorneys of the firms Cohausz & Florack (Germany) and Budde Schou A/S (Denmark).
The trial team was led by lawyer Dr. Anton Horn. "We are happy that the highest German court in patent matters acknowledged the innovative nature of the imagic® product design. This is a good basis for taking appropriate steps against companies that infringe the patent and use its specific pattern of supporting ribs", commented Horn.
Counsels to Brødrene Hartmann, Denmark
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek:
Dr. Anton Horn
Birthe Struck, LL.M. (both Düsseldorf)
COHAUSZ & FLORACK, Düsseldorf / Germany:
Andreas Thielmann (German patent attorney and European Patent Attorney)
Budde Schou A/S, Copenhagen / Denmark: Jan Sørensen (Danish patent attorney)
Court docket numbers of the validity proceedings
Federal Court of Justice: X ZR 37/17, judgment of December 18, 2018
Federal Patent Court: 3 Ni 10/16 (EP), judgment of January 31, 2017 (mainly reversed by the aforementioned decision of the Federal Court of Justice)
Court docket number of the patent infringement proceedings
Regional Court of Düsseldorf: 4c O 32/14 (stayed with court decision of February 26, 2015; reactivation requested by Brødrene Hartmann with motion of December 19, 2018)