Patent Law: Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek Achieves Important Intermediate Success to Secure Competition in Tiling Trade

In the patent law dispute of Schlüter Systems KG versus blizz-z Handwerk Direkt GmbH represented by Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court suspended the ongoing appeal proceedings. By order dated July 2, 2009, the Patent Division chaired by Dr. Kühnen suspended the proceedings until a decision is available in the parallel nullity proceedings before the Federal Patent Court (docket no. 5 Ni 89/09). In the now decisive nullity proceedings, blizz-z Handwerk Direkt GmbH is represented by patent attorney office Tergau & Pohl, which also provides lead counsel to the client.

The parties are competitors in the distribution of material for tile laying. Their customers are primarily companies in the trade. The disputed patent of market leader Schlüter Systems KG refers to the particular design of a certain profile of tile end strips. Such profiles are an important aid for tile layers and are used in numerous tile-laying projects. They are often subject matter of patents or design patents. If the disputed patent of Schlüter Systems KG is declared null and void, blizz-z Handwerk Direkt GmbH may become even more competitive on this highly competitive market with its own products and thus provide for more competition.

With the suspension order, Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court supports the view held by blizz-z Handwerk Direkt GmbH, represented by Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, according to which the disputed patent of Schlüter Systems KG obviously is not legally valid. Schlüter Systems KG had previously filed an appeal against the judgment of the court of first instance, Düsseldorf Regional Court, dated April 10, 2008, dismissing the complaint. The regional court had denied a violation of the disputed patent.

"Appeal proceedings are suspended only in extremely rare instances if the patent holder does not have a winning first instance judgment," Dr. Anton Horn, Partner of law firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, comments on the judgment. "The suspension order confirms our view that the disputed patent is obviously not legally valid."

blizz-z Handwerk Direkt GmbH was represented by Dr. Anton Horn and Dr. Sabine Fiedler (both Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, Patent Law) and by patent attorney Rüdiger Freier (Tergau & Pohl, Lead, representation in nullity proceedings before the Federal Patent Court).

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