- I4F takes action to protect licensees against unwarranted litigation from Välinge
- Supports I4F legal proceedings to nullify the Dutch part of Välinge European Patent – EP’317; prior art for both patents overlap, neither believed to be patentable
- US ’625 cornerstone of Välinge’s long side patent portfolio in the US
Innovations4Flooring (I4F), a technology company providing flooring installation solutions, today announced that it has filed an inter partes review (IPR) petition at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to nullify Välinge’s U.S. Patent No. 7,398,625. I4F’s filing sets forth that Välinge’s ’625 patent is invalid in view of prior art showing that the claimed features were known in the flooring industry well before the priority date of the ’625 patent.
It is expected that the PTAB will render a decision on whether to institute the IPR within the next six months. A final written decision is expected to be issued by the PTAB no later than twelve months after the decision to institute the IPR.
This follows I4F’s initiation of invalidity proceedings on the merits to nullify the Dutch part of Välinge’s European base patent EP 1 084 317, filed before the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands in March 2016. A first instance decision, dealing with this European validity, is expected to be obtained within less than one year from today.
Perceived as one of Välinge’s core patents for the long side in the US, I4F believes that the invalidation of Välinge’s ’625 patent, in combination with the expected success of the pending nullity action against the Dutch part of EP ’317, will free the flooring industry from unjustified royalties. The prior art for these two Välinge patents overlap and neither patent is believed to be patentable.
This will also eliminate the fear of being met with unwarranted infringement claims when using these standard locking designs, most recently inflicted by Välinge in the US with the pending ‘625 patent litigation case against suppliers and retailers.
John Rietveldt, I4F’s CEO says, “Välinge’s patents have been imposed on the flooring industry for far too long, and their invalidation will positively impact freedom of choice in the industry. We are confident that our licensees and customers are protected against these claims, and will continue to do everything in our power to preserve freedom of choice for global flooring manufacturers. The removal of the fear management approach being adopted by Välinge is long overdue.”