Välinge pre launches the new 5G+ due to patent disputes with Akzenta.
Viken, Sweden - September 21, 2007
In opposition proceedings before the European Patent Office in Munich, Akzenta upheld its European Patent EP 1 415 056 covering a fold down system with a loose locking element having a flexible snap tab. The decision is open for appeal.
Välinge remains of the opinion that its present 5G versions with bow shaped and bristle tongues, which are factory connected to the panel, are outside the scope of this patent. Akzenta is however of the opinion that at least some versions of the Välinge 5G systems are within the scope of the Akzenta patent. Välinge on the other hand is of the opinion that the present Megaloc system of Classen infringes a Välinge utility model. Both parties have filed law suites against each other. Välinge remains convinced of the quality of its arguments and will pursue the above-mentioned actions.
In addition to Akzenta and Välinge several other parties have patent rights related to fold down technology. Välinge has entered into cross license agreements with some of these parties.
The legal disputes between Classen/Akzenta and Välinge is expected to last several years. Välinge has therefore decided to launch its new 5G+ technology, which is different to any previous 5G versions and which to Välinge’s knowledge is different to any known patent or product of any other party. The aim is to keep the Väinge licensees outside potential legal disputes by offering a new and advanced system earlier than initially planned.
The new 5G + system was developed one year ago and patent applications have been filed in 2006 covering a wide range of embodiments. The launch was initially planned to take place in January 2008.
The new 5G+ system has been developed such that is compatible with the present 5G systems on the market. It offers several advantages over the present 5G systems related to production cost, installation function and locking strength. Present production equipment to fix a separate tongue to a panel edge could be used with minor modifications.
The new 5G+ system will be presented and available to the Välinge licensees already in Octobet 2007. Välinge will also soon publish some of its applications related to 5G+.
All new license contracts will be based on the new 5G+ technology even when Välinge would prevail in the pending legal actions and obtain positive judgement regarding non-infringement of the Akzena patent. Välinge will also advice its licensees to change their systems to the new 5G+ technology, which in all respects offers major technical advantages against the present 5G technology.
The 5G and 5G+ technologies are both based on a single action locking principle with vertical folding, only, and offer major advantages over present triple action systems which are installed with combinations of angling, snapping and displacement. The 5G technology has recently been introduced and the volumes are still very small in relation to the traditional glue free one piece systems. It is therefore an advantage that the legal disputes have started early and that the scope of patents rights could be challenged at an early stage before major investments have been done. This will help the parties to take correct decisions regarding the technology, which could be used in order to avoid infringement of other parties patent rights.
Välinge sees the 5G+ as a major development similar to the invention of mechanical locking for laminate flooring that Välinge invented in 1994 and anticipates that such systems may capture a major part of the floating flooring market.
For more information please contact:
Sr. Legal Counsel
Mobile : +32 476 66 99 50