Unilin has on the 25th of March 2019 filed a complaint before the International Trade Commission (ITC). The complaint requests a general exclusion order preventing 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). As a result, 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 not be affected by this complaint. Through the non-assertion agreement, Unilin has also been granted the right to permit its licensees to manufacture and sell resilient flooring products which incorporate Välinge’s patented technology in exchange for royalty payments.
About the Extended Patent Protection for LVT/SPC/WPC
Since 2016, Välinge offers an Extended Patent Protection (EPP) for LVT, SPC and WPC flooring which include sub-licenses and non-assertion undertakings from companies such as Classen, Unilin and US Floors. These third-party patent holders have maintained the right to take legal actions to protect their patent rights including actions against producers, importers and distributors which are trading with infringing LVT, SPC and WPC products not covered by EPP.
About the L2C label
The L2C (License to Clic) label program was implemented by Välinge to protect the interest of its licensees and their customers. Licensed partners with manufacturing plants in certain jurisdictions shall attach a unique holographic label on to each product box that is manufactured and sold under license from Välinge. Products that leave the factory not appropriately labelled are considered to be unlicensed and infringing products. Accordingly, licensees and other actors trading with unlabelled products might infringe on Välinge’s patent rights.
Labels in different colors apply to products for different retail markets.