United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued U.S. patent 8,650,826 assigned to Välinge Flooring Technology AB in February. The patent relates to an alternative 5G locking system.
The patent protects building panels provided with a displaceable tongue, which is pushed into a tongue groove for vertical locking of two adjacent panels. In a preferred embodiment, the tongue is pushed by a locking element that locks the building panels in the horizontal direction.
The patent was issued by the USPTO even though it appears that the Belgium-based company Spanolux tried to provoke an interference with the application that issued as U.S. Patent No. 8,650,826 by copying the claims of the application into Spanolux's pending application with the number 13/640,814.
A German utility model, DE 20 2012 007 012 U1, with similar claims as the issued US patent, is asserted against Balterio’s (a division of SA Spanolux NV) marketing and sales of flooring products with the so called PXP (PressXpress) fold down locking system. The infringement action is pending before District Court in Mannheim, Germany.
The application for the issued patent is filed July 11, 2012 and the application claims benefit from a U.S. provisional application filed July 19, 2011.