Adopted in 2012 in order to achieve fair competition, prevent patent infringement and to avoid non-licensed flooring products from reaching the market, the L2C (License to Clic) Label Program has over the years proven to successfully achieve its objective. Licensed partners with manufacturing plants in certain regions shall attach a unique holographic label on each box of products that are manufactured and sold under license from Välinge. Products that leave these factories not appropriately labelled are considered to be unlicensed and infringing. Accordingly, licensees and other actors trading with unlabeled products may be found to infringe Välinge’s patent rights as well as other third party´s patent rights included in a license from Välinge.
In order to further improve the effectiveness of the program, a fourth L2C yellow label is being introduced, to be applied on boxes sold in the Rest of the World (i.e. not in Europe, NAFTA, Australia, New Zealand or China). Henceforth, green labels shall be applied on boxes sold on the European market only.
Available from July 2020, the use of the new yellow labels is to be implemented prior to 30 September 2020. After the implementation period has expired, yellow labels shall be applied to all relevant products manufactured to be sold in the Rest of the World.
Välinge is also modifying the design of all L2C labels to display the Välinge logotype. As for the use of blue, green and purple labels with the new design, there is no specific implementation period and Välinge will start to distribute these labels gradually during 2020.
The L2C Label Program is an important tool used by Välinge to protect the interest of its licensees and their customers. Non properly labelled products may also be subject to the general exclusion order sought by Unilin and recommended by the Administrative Law Judge in the pending ITC proceedings in the United States to prevent any unlawful importation of vinyl products that infringe upon certain Unilin patents as identified in the complaint. The three patents asserted in this ITC procedure have been assessed as relevant to many vinyl flooring products and are, through a non-assertion agreement, therefore part of the Extended Patent Protection (EPP) offered by Välinge to its licensees since 2016. Välinge licensees who have signed the EPP and manufacture LVT/SPC/WPC products with Välinge locking systems which are properly labelled and paid for according to contractual obligations, will therefore not be affected by the General Exclusion Order.