Legal uncertainty over laser edgebanding has still not yet been fully resolved
Patent disputes that have emerged since September 2010 and thus uncertain legal positions regarding certain patents are still hampering the German furniture industry’s use of laser edgebanding technology developed in recent years. European patent EP 1163864 B1, held by the German kitchen furniture producer Bulthaup since 22 September 2004, is limiting marketing of furniture with laser edgebanding in Germany. However, this patent’s scope has been limited to the German market for some time. In September 2010, the German machinery producers Homag Group AG and IMA Klessmann GmbH and the edgebanding supplier Döllken Kunststoffverarbeitung GmbH filed an action with the German Patent and Trademark Office in Munich to annul the German portion of Bulthaup’s patent. An oral hearing in this case has now been scheduled for November 2012. At the same time, the companies in question have worked to reach an out-of-court settlement over the past 18 months without moving any closer to a deal up until now.